The Child Labor Epidemic: a Pattern of Poverty & Illiteracy
There are 168 million child laborers in the world. More than half of them do hazardous work likely to put their health and safety at risk. While a world in which children are forced to work, often instead of going to school, feels impossibly far away from us in America, we must ask: can we do something to stop it? The answer isn't straightforward. Between the complexities of trade agreements and international labor standards, global policy on child labor would require unprecedented multi-national cooperation. And even then, can the patterns of poverty, lack of education, and classism that have led to forced child labor be fixed?
On September 19, 2016, the Harkin Institute welcomed Kailash Satyarthi–Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the global movement to end forced child labor–to answer this question, with a special introduction by Senator Tom Harkin (Retired). Mr. Satyarthi founded Bachpan Bachao Andolan (which translates to "Save the Childhood Movement"), liberated more than 85,000 children from forced child labor, and continues to work to rehabilitate and educate them.