I refuse to accept that the innocence, smiles and freedom of our children can keep getting stripped and raped. These are not ordinary crimes. This is a moral epidemic haunting our nation. -Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi
Bhopal: Nobel Peace Laureate, Kailash Satyarthi, is embarking on a historic Bharat Yatra to spearhead the fight against child trafficking and child sexual abuse across the country.
Satyarthi’s yatra is the manifestation of his belief in ‘Surakshit Bachpan-Surakshit Bharat’ (Safe Childhood-Safe India).
The yatra will flag off from Kanyakumari on 11 September, from the Vivekanand Memorial, commemorating the anniversary of the great spiritual leader Swami Vivekanand’s famous address in Chicago, USA, in 1893. It will pass through 22 states and union territories. It will cover a distance of 15,000 Kms over 35 days. Starting from Kanyakumari in the South, the Yatra will pass through western India.
Guwahati will lead the yatra from the eastern part of the country, while Srinagar will flag off the northern stretch. The culmination of the Yatra will be in Delhi, the national capital, on the 15 October.
Kailash Satyarthi has been campaigning for the freedom, safety and security of children across the globe for the past 36 years. He has led the historic Global March Against Child Labor in 1998 that prompted the ILO to pass international conventions against the worst form of child labor, in addition to the Shiksha yatra in 2001, after which the Right to Education was included as a fundamental right in the Constitution of India. As a prolific thought leader, he has been playing a catalytic role in influencing social and political policies of our country. He won the Nobel Peace prize (2014) for his continuous efforts and struggle for the rights of children.
Announcing the Bharat Yatra with the parents of the survivors, Kailash Satyarthi said: “Today, I declare a war on child sexual abuse and trafficking. Today I am announcing Bharat Yatra, the biggest movement in history to make India safe again for children. I refuse to accept that the innocence, smiles and freedom of our children can keep getting stripped and raped. These are not ordinary crimes. This is a moral epidemic haunting our nation.”
As the architect of some of the largest civil body movements for a cause in the last four decades, Satyarthi’s lifelong mission is to eradicate all forms of violence against children.
Satyarthi and his foundation KSCF have been preparing the ground for several months to launch the Yatra in September. As part of this ground work, Satyarthi has travelled the length and breadth of country meeting citizens, faith leaders, employees and corporates, Parliamentarians, social organisations among others, all of whom have pledged their whole-hearted support to the Bharat Yatra, terming it as a necessary fight for the cause of the country and its children.
Recently Satyarthi met parliamentarians in Delhi to apprise them of the issue of child trafficking and child sexual abuse and seek their support in spreading awareness against the menace. Last month he spoke with and inspired over 500 LinkedIn employees in Bangalore, about the need for corporates such as LinkedIn to take a strong stand for the future of the country. He has been meeting with several faith heads in New Delhi and across the country.
The curtain raiser to this march in Delhi, saw the launch of the video for the Bharat Yatra, which highlighted the appeal of children across the country to unite and fight for their freedom, safety and security. The campaign is expected to reach out to 1 crore stakeholders in the country.
Bharat Yatra will mark the launch of a three-year campaign against child rape and child sexual abuse which is aimed at increasing awareness and reporting of the cases, strengthening institional response, including medical health and compensations, ensuring protection for victims and witnesses during trials and increasing convictions of those facing trial for child sexual abuse in a time bound manner.
During the curtain raiser event for the Yatra, there were families of victims of trafficking and abuse who narrated the emotional and physical trauma they had to endure because of the misdeeds of a few. The families pledged their support hoping that it would bring about the revolution, the country needs to sustain its fight against the exploitation of children.