SACCS - PBS New Heroes -

Statement by Kailash Satyarthi Chairperson at the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children

Marked For Life

Embarrassing public officials to make them comply with child labor laws

In the mid-1990s the South Asian Coalition on Child Servitude publicly exposed the use of child domestic help by government officials in order to highlight the widespread problem of child servitude in India.

The use of children as laborers continues on a large scale in India, in spite of provisions in the Indian constitution upholding the rights of children and a number of acts that have been passed dealing with child labor. One common type of illegal child labor is as domestic help. Many government officials kept children as domestic help, despite rules forbidding the practice.

When SACCS received information that an official’s household was engaging children as domestic help, the information was verified before any action was taken. Then demonstrations were organized in front of officials’ residences to focus public attention on the practices of that particular household. Because of the embarrassment of the public spotlighting, the prime minister issued an order reinforcing the government’s stance that by no means could government officials employ child laborers.

In addition to the tactic of shaming public officials, SACCS, founded in 1980, also conducts rescue missions to liberate children from factories or households. The children are then These children are then rehabilitated, educated and returned to their families, if possible. Additionally, SACCS uses large marches, political lobbying, promotion of child friendly villages and forums for religious, labor or political leaders.