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Kailash Satyarthi: Saving India’s child slaves

The Nobel Peace laureate discusses child slavery in India and beyond, and what can be done to eradicate it.

For his work he has endured beatings and has received death threats. For his efforts and courage, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 – along with Pakistani youth activist Malala Yousafzai.

The modern-day slavery in the world perpetuates also because of the supply chain for the multi-national brands. That happens in South Asia, but it also happens in Latin America ... and Africa where multi-national brands go and look for a cheap source of labour. And normally, the cheapest source of labour are children.

by Kailash Satyarthi, human rights activist

For the past 35 years, Indian rights activist Kailash Satyarthi has devoted himself to freeing children working under terrible conditions in his native India.

“The notorious people who engage children in slavery, the slave masters and traffickers, are powerful people, they are like mafia. They are well-connected with the local police and authorities. They earn a lot of black money…. Human trafficking is the largest illicit tade in the world today…. They are powerful people so risks are always there. I lost two of my colleagues – one was shot dead, one was beaten to death. I have scars almost everywhere on my body…. But I accepted it as challenge. Each time when these people tried to kill me I realised that I am on the right path,” he says.

Satyarthi’s contribution to freeing children from exploitation and abuse is enormous, rescuing more than 80,000 children from illegal and hazardous work across India.

But child labour remains a serious issue across the world. According to the International Labour Organisation, there are currently 168 million children engaged in forced labour worldwide.

Satyarthi says the Nobel Prize is a recognition and honour to those children, who are still deprived of their childhood. However, the main question remains: Can child slavery be eradicated?

Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi talks to Al Jazeera about his fight against child slavery and abuse, women’s rights in India, and how to protect children across the world.

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