New Delhi, April 24 (IANS) Nobel Peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi, known worldwide for his Bachpan Bachao Andolan which is credited for welfare of victims of child trafficking and child labour, on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to give three-month impunity to all employers of child labourers from prosecution or other punitive action.
Satyarthi said this should be done by issuing a special notification, if the employer voluntarily releases children confined inside factories, workshops, stone quarries, brick kilns or other workplaces during this period.
“It was an ideological and emotional dilemma in such an extraordinary situation. I am saying what I am feeling. They are all our children and our children must not die. We have failed in saving our children from child labour and exploitation, they must be saved from hunger and desperation. The life of every single child is above everything else,” Satyarthi said in a statement.
“The demand for a notification to give impunity to employers of child labourers for three months is the last thing that I would have ever thought in my life. Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary steps and I strongly feel that in order to save the lives of lakhs of children trapped in slavery and child labour across the country, this step is the only option left now,” Satyarthi added.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Satyarthi claimed that the death of a 12-year-old trafficked girl, Jamlo Makdam, triggered his deep anguish.
“The desperate girl, while walking 150 km, from a red chilli plantation in Telangana, where she worked as a child labourer, back to her village in Chhattisgarh died due to hunger just one hour short of her destination,” Satyarthi wrote.
Urging the government to make proper provisions for food, safety, shelter and medical treatment for the children released during the lockdown, Satyarthi offered his help and assistance from his organisation.
He also sought constitution of an inter-ministerial task force to formulate and implement a strong action plan for combating the sudden spike in child trafficking once some semblance of normalcy is restored in the post Covid-19 period.