In an exclusive interview with SocialStory, Kailash Satyarthi discusses the urgent need for government intervention in preventing sexual abuse and trafficking of children. He also talks about the need for safeguarding the well-being of children working in the entertainment industry and reality shows.
Today Kailash Satyarthi is synonymous with child rights and anti-trafficking, however, the journey of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate has been paved with hurdles.
Born in the ancient city of Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh, Satyarthi became aware of the plight of children at the mere age of six. He saw a young boy cleaning his father’s shoes at the steps of his school and that image stayed with him. Seeing poor children work in factories and brick kilns, motivated him to start his first campaign where he used a football club membership fees to pay the school fees of needy children.
His commitment towards the cause of child labour and trafficking later drove him to start his own organisation, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (Save the Childhood Movement) in 1980.
It is so ironical that on one hand India is making remarkable progress, but on the other, millions of others live with acute problems and thousands are being sold at a lesser price than animals. They are trafficked from their villages, sold to prostitution, forced into bonded labour, domestic work, and child marriages, Satyarthi says.
India has witnessed a rise of nearly 25 percent, from the previous year, with 19,223 women and children succumbing to trafficking in 2016, as against 15,448 in 2015. While government and civil society groups have been involved in campaigns and awareness drive against child labour and trafficking, Satyarthi believes that it is not enough.
Discussing the current trend of rising reality shows centred around children, he says that a large number of children have been exploited under the pretext of entertainment.
If reality shows are creating problems in education, impacting health and freedom, and if there is an economic consideration involved—then that makes a young child a child labourer.
Camera person: Manoj Upadhyaya
Video editor: Anjali Achal