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Kailash Satyarthi’s Message on 20 Years of Global March Against Child Labour

For last 20 years, Global March Against Child Labour has been the defender of the right of every child to be free from exploitation and be educated. Our journey began, exactly 20 years ago on 17 January 1998, when our Founder and Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, flagged off the 80,000kms physical march from Manila, Philippines; with former child labourers and survivors of trafficking, prostitution and labour exploitation taking the lead with other partners and supporters. The march which mobilised 15 million people, traversed through Asia, Africa, Latin America, North America, and Europe and culminated in Geneva, Switzerland on 1 June 1998, where delegates at International Labour Conference wholeheartedly welcomed the marchers and a demand for an international law, ILO Convention 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour, was put forth by young people, parents and teachers. 

Global March’s relentless efforts towards raising awareness and advocating with governments and other stakeholders (in partnership with other organisations), to create child friendly policies, have helped create a remarkable progress for children in last two decades, contributing to the reduction in the number of child labourers from 264 million in 2000 to 152 million in 2017. But this is not enough. We need to do a lot more to ensure we achieve zero child labour by 2025.

We cannot do this alone. Let’s come together again and reinvigorate the passion and the movement that was built in 1998 for every child to go to school and not slave in exploitation.

WATCH, LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT on the special message by Kailash Satyarthi, commemorating 20 years of Global March Against Child Labour.