Earlier this month, Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai were announced the joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of their efforts to protect the rights of children. Yousafzai’s courageous campaign for female education in Pakistan has garnered more global attention of late, but Satyarthi’s work to end child labor is just as important. His South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude has raided factories across India and liberated more than 40,000 bonded laborers, many of them children working and living under armed guard. Satyarthi has campaigned for strengthened laws banning the practice and has begun a global campaign against child labor involving more than 2,000 civil society organizations around the planet. His Nobel will put a spotlight on the issue of child labor worldwide.
It isn’t easy to end child labor in poor countries. In fact, passing laws banning anyone under 14 or 16 from working can actually make the problem worse. If we are going to sustainably reduce the level of child labor worldwide, we need to provide parents the resources so they can make the choice to keep children out of the factory or field and send them to school instead.
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