In one year, more than 15 million child marriages occur, leaving one in 10 women married before age 15. There are 168 million children in the labor force, 85 million of whom are working in hazardous environments. More than one million children are trafficked, and 140 million children are sexually abused.
Kailash Satyarthi, Indian Nobel Peace Laureate, has advocated for ending global violence against children for more than 30 years. With his organization, The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), he hopes to end child exploitation. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for his “struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”
Satyarthi founded and chaired seven different organizations, including the KSCF. All of the organizations focus on rehabilitating children from different forms of slavery and exploitation. Satyarthi has successfully liberated more than 85,000 children.
The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation has two working locations — one in New Delhi, India and the other in Washington, D.C. While both locations work toward the same goals, the India location focuses more on direct action while the U.S. location provides outreach and engagement.
The organization bases its mission on two goals. First, governments, businesses and societies should create policies to ensure that children remain unharmed. Second, child labor and poverty should be permanently eradicated by providing good education. The KSCF specifies that, “An education cannot be considered a quality education unless it emphasizes children’s rights and empowerment.” By prioritizing prevention, protection and policy change, the KSCF works to end child exploitation.
Satyarthi speaks to the necessity for action in terms of laws and policies. He maintains that we have the power to end child exploitation, and that we can provide the world’s children with better lives and education.
In an article published by UNICEF last year, he wrote, “All children deserve a fair and equal start in life. They deserve freedom and a childhood. They deserve comprehensive, well-rounded, quality education. These have to be viewed not just as basic rights but as a means towards a more inclusive and sustainable society.” The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation works toward just that.
– Shannon Elder