“I was forced to work as a slave for 6 years. I slept in a cowshed and was given tea that was drugged every morning to make me work. I worked from five in the morning to ten at night doing various chores.”This is Rakesh’s story(name changed). Rakesh was rescued by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), lives at Bal Ashram, the rehabilitation and training center of BBA, catering to the special needs of victims of child labour, and providing rescued children with the much-needed compassion, education and vocational training. Rakesh is being educated here, and now dreams of becoming a teacher.
There are millions of children and youth like Rakesh all over the world. More than 40 million people, most of them children and youth are victims of modern slavery. Over 150 million children are still forced to work. And more than 260 million children are being denied their fundamental right to education at the primary and secondary levels.
Despite the fast-paced social, economic and technological advances across the world, the grim reality is that millions of children and youth remain in bondage of one form or another. Children are losing their homes and families, being trafficked and enslaved, missing out on formal education, and being subjected to routine physical and emotional abuse.
The numbers highlight the grave moral deficit in society and are a telling reflection of the lack of political will and urgency to address this issue. The idea of a united future has never been more urgently needed than today. The dreams of children can only be fulfilled by collective will and strong resolve.
Laureates and Leaders for Children
Inspired and launched by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, Leaders and Laureates for Children is a unique and powerful movementof Nobel Laureates across disciplines, world leaders and youth activists is rising to accelerateprogress and build a global action plan to protect all children.“The very idea behind Laureates and Leaders for Children is to build a sense of urgency and priority, collective responsibility and a strong moral voice to galvanise political will,” says Mr. Satyarthi. This movement is a sincere and concerted effort to bring people together to openly discuss challenges and formulate long-term and realistic strategies to address them.
Laureates and Leaders for Children will convene Summits that will bring Nobel Laureates and WorldLeaders together with leading thinkers and doers from government, business, media andentertainment, academia, different faiths, as well as youth from around the world. TheseSummits will explore the most pressing needs of children, create a strategy for theirprioritisation in the global agenda, invest in and drive innovation for children, celebratesuccess and inspire commitments.
The first Summit held at New Delhi in 2016 saw the confluence of laureates and leaders from government, business and civil society, includingyoung people. The 100 Million Campaign, history’s largest youth led mobilisation to call for a world where all children are safe, free andeducated was launched. A significant impact of the summit was that, for the first time, children’s related issues were included (trafficking, labour etc.) in the last G20 outcomes. This agenda was facilitated by OECD.
The second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summitis being held under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein at the King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre on the historic banks of the Dead Sea in Jordan on March 26 and 27, 2018. The 2018 Summit will examine the challenges faced by the exploding numbers of children on the move. It will also call for these issues to be addressed in on-going international fora.
This year’s Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit – with its focus on Children on the Move – is a unique opportunity to press for these issues to be addressed in the Global Compact on Migration at the first-ever UN Conference on Migration in Morocco this December as well as at the UN General Assembly in September and other international fora that focus on child rights and civil society engagement.
The Summit will revisit the definition and key drivers of children on the move and in crisis, rapidly becoming a norm in our changing world, while examining specific achievable actions to prioritise and protect children from exploitation, trafficking, slavery and abuse and ensure their education. Highlighting strategies or efforts that have been successful in the past, the Summit will explore what can be accelerated, what is missing and more importantly the role government, business, technology, media, academia, faith leaders and individuals can play.
Through a series of lively interactive dialogues, Summit participants will discuss ideas and actions to protect children on the move. Young people’s voices will be central – youth displaced by conflict and climate change/natural disasters, and survivors of exploitation, alongside Laureates and Leaders – will share their stories, experiences, ideas and inspiration for change. Summit participants will contribute to an action plan for children and youth in crisis.
Mr. Satyarthi adds “Humanity’s greatest responsibility is to ensure all children are free, safe and educated. This summit will give a voice to these children and put the world on notice that their lives and those of all children are our moral and sacred responsibility. We all can wait but our children cannot wait.”