Kailash Satyarthi, co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize, is a human rights activist from India, at the forefront of the global movement to end child slavery and exploitative child labor. A former electrical engineer, Satyarthi gave up a lucrative career in 1980 to pursue his personal mission to end child slavery.
As a grassroots activist, he has led the rescue of over 78,500 child slaves and developed a successful model for their education and rehabilitation. As a worldwide campaigner, he has been the architect of the single largest civil society network for the most exploited children, the Global March Against Child Labor, which is a worldwide coalition of NGOs, Teachers’ Union and Trade Unions.
Satyarthi has survived numerous attacks on his life during his crusade to end child labor, the most recent being the attack on him and his colleagues while rescuing child slaves from garment sweatshops in Delhi on 17 March 2011. Earlier in 2004 while rescuing children from the clutches of a local circus mafia and the owner of Great Roman Circus, Mr. Satyarthi and his colleagues were brutally attacked.
In addition, to the Global March Against Child Labor, other organizations he has founded and/or led include Bachpan Bachao Andolan, the Global Campaign for Education, and the Rugmark Foundation now known as Goodweave. He is the Chair of the International Center on Child Labor and Education (ICCLE) in Washington, D.C.
Rugmark, (now known as Goodweave), is an international consortium of independent bodies from a dozen carpet exporting and importing countries, coming together in a voluntary social labeling initiative to ensure that rugs have not been produced with child labor. This initiative gives positive alternatives to responsible businesses, protecting them from any possible boycott and sanctions and gives an ethical choice to consumers worldwide. Satyarthi is pursuing the industries and other stakeholders to adopt a similar system for knitwear, sporting goods and the other international common products.