The foremost advocate for the abolition of child servitude in Asia, Kailash Satyarthi has emancipated over 40,000 people from slave-like conditions.
is your hope for the next few days? What do you hope happens here
hope that the issue of children of child slavery and justice for
children will be brought to the notice of many more people and
I hope there will be more involvement and increased concern for
the issue in the coming days.
did you meet Kerry Kennedy and how did you get involved in this
When I was chosen as one the laureates of RFK Human Rights Award
about five years back, it was the first time I met her. I found
that she was extremely passionate and involved not only with the
human rights issues overall, but also clearly involved with the
question of children, so that made me a good friend of hers.
how much time did she spend with you?
met her several times, but she also participated in the Global
March against Child Labor which we organized a few years back.
She came all the way to India and walked with us in the remotest
villages in Pakistan and Delhi.
you met any of the other defenders who are here this weekend?
know many of them, like Bruce Harris, like Hina Jilani and Muhammad
Yunnus. There are a couple of whom I'd met beforeThe Dalai
Lama is not here, but I met him too.
you had the opportunity to talk to President Clinton at length,
what would you want to say to the President of the United States?
know that after a couple of months, he won't be the President
of the United States, but nonetheless, he is still a world leader
for now. He's one of the top world statesmen. Being a statesman
he can take up the cause of children; child labor and education
for children, which in the future, can help to bring mammoth support
to the whole movement against child slavery, as well as favor
for the cause of education for children throughout the world.
Dorfman has put together your words and some of the other defenders
to make the play. One of the things that keeps coming up is how
people feel that this is a time when people don't seem to be that
involved with issues. How do you get people to care about what's
happening in a little village in India, in Guatemala?
are several areas where the American people could get involved
or they are already involved. For instance, the things produced
by slaves in India or in Guatemala or in other parts of the world,
are used by the American consumers here in this land. Carpets
and rugs are some of them which, like apples, are produced by
child slaves and children in other countries. The rugs end up
here and they are used by the American people. We have been more
than successful in raising this as an issue of consumer consciousness
and consumer powerhow can consumers make sure that the things
that end up here are not made by children and child slaves?
would one know whether or not a carpet or rug has been made by
buyer of a carpet must ask for the label on the carpet. The label
is called a rugmark. A rugmark is a seal or label attached to
a carpet which has been confirmed as free of child labor in India,
Pakistan, and Nepal. That is an initiative which has been quite
successful in other parts of the world, too.
me a little about the young man that you brought here from India.
is Kalu Kamar, a twelve-year-old boy. He was born in a bonded
labor family where his father was himself a bonded labor. Bonded
labor basically means slavery, where one has no right to get away
from the clutches of the master. Kalu was kidnapped from his village
and taken to a carpet factory where he was confined and locked
in a small room for about two years. When he cried for his mother
he was beaten up. He was branded, he was abused and tortured just
for smiling or making fun amongst themselves. Now we have liberated
him, and he is a very bright boy. He was admitted to a normal
elementary school, public school, where he stood first in his
class. He was introduced to his class last year, and he has taken
1st and 4th grade. Now he is studying for 5th grade.
did he react when you aksed if he was interested in coming to
the United States?
A boy like him has never imagined such things. Before last year,
he had never heard of America, for instance. He had never seen
an airplane before. He traveled on a train once in his lifetime.
That was his pastit was beyond his imagination. So when
I brought him to the airplane, he was amazed. He could not understand.
He could not grasp it. He just smiled. For a couple days he was
just smiling. He was so excited.
he ask you why he was going? Was he scared at all?
at all, because it was through a process. He was living in one
of our rehabilitation centers, where about 100 children freed
from slavery are living with us. They are changing their lives,
we are imparting them with education, vocational training, and
other things. So he was chosen as part of this processhe
knew and the rest of the children also know what he's going to
I looked at the footage of you doing one of the rescues, one of
the things that struck me was that the children seem to be in
a state of shock. They don't immediately start jumping up and
down. They seem totally numb. Maybe you could explain this for
we rescue them, it is a big shock for them because perhaps it
is the first time in their life when anybody has come to rescue
them or help them. Being helped by others is also beyond their
imagination. They've never thought something like that would happen
in their life.
It is a big trauma for them. They had no expectation or no belief
in other people. So when somebody comes to help them they cannot
grasp it, they cannot digest it. In many cases, they may feel
that this is just another employer. With the right timing, we
have to tell them that they're free"You're free, you're
free!" We always bring some of the parents of those children
to tell them that now you are free. Because the whole imagination
or the whole concept of freedom is not there in their minds. They
are born in slavery, they are working in slavery, they were sold
or lured away or kidnapped from one slave to another slave. That's
why is very difficult for them to understand what is happening.
It takes time to get rid of the trauma.
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