Nobel Laureate leads historic march across India to keep children safe

published 20 October 2017 updated 24 October 2017

When Kailash Satyarthi commits there is no way of stopping him, which was evident as millions followed his call to end the sexual abuse and trafficking of children in what was the country’s biggest march.

Over the course of the past month Indians voiced their opposition to the abuse of children with their feet as they marched across the country in droves with estimates exceeding 10 million participants.

Launched by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, the Bharat Yatra, A March to End Sexual Abuse and Trafficking of Children, covered more than 11,000 km across 22 States and Union Territories from 11 September to 16 October.

“What our children are facing is not an ordinary crime. This is a moral epidemic haunting our country as well as the rest of the world. We cannot accept it. We have to break our silence as a nation. We have to raise our voice and unite as a nation,” said Satyarthi.

Delhi was the final leg of the journey where Satyarthi spoke before thousands of students across the city as they pledged to support the campaign. Joining him for the end of the march was Education International General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen, a long-time friend and supporter. Together, Satyarthi, van Leeuwen and Sylvia Borren created the Global Campaign for Education (GCE).

Keeping children safe in India is an immense challenge. The campaign let it be known that every day 40 children are raped while another 48 are sexually abused and hundreds of thousands have been trafficked for nefarious reasons.

The campaign is focused on urging the government to take greater steps to ensure that children’s safety is a top priority. Together, people from all walks of life, from business and policy, teachers and women’s groups to faith leaders, children and parents have taken part.