Nobel laureates, leaders vow to end child slavery

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) With over 5.5 million children enslaved across the globe, Nobel laureates and world leaders on Sunday adopted a ‘Will for Children’ vowing to collectively endeavour for ending child labour in all its forms and create and a child-friendly world.

Led by Nobel laureate and child rights activist Kailash Satyarthi, the ‘Will for Children’ was adopted at the inaugural ‘Laureates and Leaders Summit for Children’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan here.

The two-day summit witnessed the participation of Nobel laureates like Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Yemeni journalist Tawakkol Karman, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, former President of Timore-Leste Jose Ramos-Horta.

The first-ever summit witnessed the participation of world leaders like former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands and The Earth Institute director Jeffrey Sachs among others.

“One in ten children is still forced into work by poverty, coercion and trafficking, and a shocking 5.5 million of them are still enslaved. Millions of children and youth are not in school, and more than a half of these children are exposed to violence, or live in conflict areas, fragile states and in conditions of humanitarian emergencies,” they said.

“We will use our voices to protect and amplify the voices of millions of girls, boys and young people as equal citizens of today and decision makers of tomorrow.

“We will take actions and experiences towards concrete efforts to ending child labour in all its forms, including trafficking of children, and abolishing modern day slavery.

“As Nobel laureates and world leaders, this is our individual and collective will for children,” they said.

The leaders and laureates also vowed to support and encourage governments, inter-governmental organisations and private sector to prioritise the empowerment, free, quality, public education, inclusive, affordable and equitable healthcare.

They also called upon all nations to implement 17 Sustainable Development Goals with urgency and with the necessary domestic and international financing.

The summit culminated with President Pranab Mukherjee launching the “100 Million for 100 Million” campaign that strives to change the future of millions of children worldwide.