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Profile of Kailash Satyarthi
Kailash Satyarthi is Indias foremost leader in abolishing bonded labor. He is the co-founder and director of the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude (SACCS) , which uses public awareness campaigns, advocacy, legal actions, and direct intervention to emancipate children and women from bonded and child labor.
Since 1989 SACCS has emancipated over 40.000 people, including 28.000 children from bonded labor, a form of slavery where a desperate family typically borrows money (sums as little as $35 US) and is forced to hand over a child to secure the loan. Often the money can never be repaidand the child is sold and resold to different masters. Bonded laborers work in the diamond mines, stonecutting, manufacturing, and other industries. They are especially prevalent in the carpet export business, where they hand-knot rugs for the U.S. and other markets.
Satyarthi has received constant death threats for his opposition to overcrowded, unsafe, filthy factories where workers are often subject to physical abuse and sexual assault. The threats are dire, for two of Satyarthis colleagues have been murdered.
Satyarthi organized and led two great marches across India to raise awareness about child labor. In 1998 he organized the Global March Against Child Labor, bringing representatives from more than ten thousand non-governmental organizations together to pressure governments, manufacturers, and importers to stop illegal and unethical labor practices.