Children rights activist Kailash Satyarthi is one of the winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize. He continues to fight against the still widely prevalent child labor in his country. DW takes a look at his life journey.
It's a great honor and recognition for the voices of hundreds of millions of children who have been neglected or ignored, said Satyarthi in an exclusive DW interview. He has always wanted to work for children who are deprived of their childhood, the 60-year-old activist added.
Born in India in 1954, the electrical engineer founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), or the Save the Childhood Movement, a non-profit organization aiming to eliminate child trafficking and labor, in 1980.
The BBA has raided thousands of sweatshops or private homes to rescue the children forced to work there. According to the organization's own estimates, they rescued more than 80,000 children in the past 30 years.
Satyarthi also frequently takes part in street demonstrations to raise awareness on the issue and was a leader of the 1998 Global March Against Child Labour, which crossed 103 countries.
'Fight against organized crime'
Referring to the activist, the Nobel Committee said: "Showing great personal courage, Kailash Satyarthi, maintaining Gandhi's tradition, has headed various forms of protests and demonstrations, all peaceful, focusing on the grave exploitation of children for financial gain." In addition to this, Satyarthi has contributed to the development of several international conventions aimed at protecting child rights.
According to German NGO Aktiv gegen Kinderarbeit, 12 percent of Indian children aged between 5 and 14 years are forced to work due to poverty. They are employed in agriculture, as domestic servants and in several industrial sectors.
There are, however, not just social causes such as a growing gap between rich and poor in India that Satyarthi has had to confront in his fight against exploitation of children.
It has also been a struggle against the mafia and organized criminals, he told DW. Child labor is a social evil so we have to fight in order to change the mindset of the people, Satyarthi underlined, noting that the practice is unlawful and a crime against humanity. It is therefore necessary to ensure that laws are in place and properly implemented, he stressed.
When asked about how the Nobel Peace Prize will change his work, the laureate replied that the only thing that may happen is that "I get to travel more often than before."