Global March

Nobel Peace Prize Winner Kailash Satyarthi Explains Why He Quit His Job To Stop Child Slavery

HuffPost Live  |  By Rahel Gebreyes

Posted: 19/03/2015 20:04 IST 

When Kailash Satyarthi was 26 years old, he left his career as an electrical engineer to pursue a more pressing challenge -- the fight against exploitative child labor.


Satyarthi joined HuffPost Live's Nancy Redd on Tuesday to discuss how one man's plea pushed him to take up the cause. The Nobel Peace Prize winner recounted being approached by a downtrodden man who had heard about Satyarthi's journal on neglected children almost two decades ago.


"One evening a desperate slave father came to me, and I was surprised to [learn] that he had been trafficked many years ago, 17 years ago, along with his wife and family. All of them were confined to work as slave laborers at a brick factory," Satyarthi said. "They had a daughter who was born and grew up in slavery. She was 15 years old and just about to be sold to a brothel."

After hearing the man's disheartening story, Satyarthi wanted to see the conditions for himself and went to the factory with a friend. "We were badly manhandled, beaten up, our cameras were smashed, and this man, he was caught again by those brick kiln people," Satyarthi said.

Satyarthi was still determined to free the man and his family. By calling on the high court and his friends, who were lawyers, Satyarthi helped rescue more than 30 people from that brick factory -- some of whom had lived there their whole lives.

"I realized freedom that day," he said.

Since Satyarthi's eyes were opened to the pervasiveness of child labor, he hasn't looked back. Despite attacks on his life, Satyarthi is a chairperson for the Global March Against Child Labor, a group of 2,000 social-purpose organizations and trade unions across 140 countries, and he leads many other charitable organizations in the journey to end child slavery. He received the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize along with Malala Yousafszai for their work against the suppression of children worldwide.


Watch the full HuffPost Live conversation with Nobel Peace Prize winner Kailash Satyarthi here.



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