In Target 8.7 of the SDGs, the leaders committed to “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms."
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi has been at the vanguard of the fight to end violence against children. With a vision for a just and equitable world for all children, back in 1998 he led one of the largest civil society movements Global March against Child Labour traversing across 103 countries covering 80,000 Kms with a clear demand for an International Law on Worst Forms of Child Labour. This march of child rights organizations; trade unions and teachers unions and supported by Heads of several countries eventually led to the adoption of ILO Convention No. 182 on worst forms of child labour which was formally acclaimed in 1999.
Mr. Satyarthi realized that the issue of the most vulnerable and marginalized children, women and men across the globe who continue to be in precarious conditions must be included in the Sustainable Development Goals that would govern the socio-political agenda through 2030. To eradicate trafficking globally, a buy-in with an honesty of purpose was needed at the highest level. He set out to push the world leaders to include a strong narrative against child slavery and trafficking in the Sustainable Development Goals. The Global March Against Child Labour collected 550,000 signatures on a petition. Kailash Satyarthi’s concerted efforts finally resulted in a dedicated Target – 8.7, on eradicating slavery, trafficking and child labour in all its forms. Target 8.7 particularly aims to “eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking, and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour”.
Today, governments across the globe are working with a clear mandate as stipulated in Goal 8.7 of the SDGs. Hundreds of organizations have included Target 8.7 as part of their key focal work areas. Mr. Kailash Satyarthi is optimistic and resolute in rendering this world child friendly within his lifetime.