Documentaries & Non-Fiction Series / News

Politicon 2018: Can “The Price of Free” End Child Slavery?

Photo Credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for Politicon

The 100 Million Campaign is a call to action for a world where all young people are free, safe and educated. Founded by Noble Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi and launched in India, Satyarthi has worked tirelessly to end the suppression of the rights of children and young people, and to deliver the right to education for all.

From Participant:

Winner of the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, The Price of Free (formerly titled Kailash) is a suspenseful yet intimate look at one man’s groundbreaking struggle to liberate every child possible from slavery. From director Derek Doneen and Oscar winning filmmaker Davis Guggenheim (“An Inconvenient Truth,” “He Named Me Malala”), the film follows Kailash Satyarthi and his team of leaders around the world through gripping secret raids and quests for missing children in the hopes of ending the cycle of poverty which forces them and their families into dreadful circumstances. Refusing to be daunted by the impossible, they have succeeded in rescuing over 87,000 children and created a global movement which has resulted in legislation which helps protect young children.

This was the first panel I attended at Politicon on Saturday and it was a serious wake up call. According to the UN, throughout the world today around 218 million children work, many full-time. They do not go to school and have little or no time to play. Many do not receive proper nutrition or care. They are denied the chance to be children. More than half of them are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery, or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, as well as involvement in armed conflict.

So the question becomes what can you do? And the answer is to start local. VP of Social Impact at Participant Media, Amanda Chen, explains:” One of the problems here is that there’s not a lot of transparency. Most multinational brands that have global supply chains actually probably have slavery in those supply chains. It’s hidden in the same way that you see in the raid scene [in the movie.]

So part of our campaign is really taking the film to policy makers and to companies with global supply chains, asking them to screen the film and then asking them to get involved in a deeper way. What’s heartening is, I’ve talked to a lot of companies about this film, they’ve started to see it and they’re saying ‘We don’t know what to do. We cannot do this alone. We have to work with local governments and we have to work together.’ So, I think there’s a will there, but something like this could be an impetus for people to do a bit more.

The other thing is consumers can certainly ask the question: Whose hands made my stuff? When you go and buy something you can always ask that question. We’ll be developing an online action for people to take that will send letters out to thousands of companies to ask them whether they know if there’s child labor in their supply chains.”

Shasti Conrad, the US Campaign Manager for the 100 Million Campaign adds that the campaign is Satyarthi’s brainchild. “It’s his true belief that it is young people who are going to really change our world and make a difference on his issue in particular.

We want 100 million young people to stand beside the 100 million most marginalized children in the world. We really believe we’re gonna do this together, but it’s young people who will take this issue on in their generation, their lifetime and end it.

Kailash often talks about the need to globalize compassion and that if we see ourselves as a part of this human family that we can really make a difference. We can see ourselves not as just people in the US and India. What 100 Million Campaign is about, is ensuring that all children are able to have childhoods where they’re able to play and be children and learn.

The campaign was started in December of 2016. We’re really hoping we can grow this campaign globally. We’re currently in about 15 countries. We’re looking, by the end of next year, to be in 100. We are working mostly with schools and educator networks to spread the word and take this issue on.

That’s the big call to action, that we ask folks after seeing the film to take the pledge to find ways in your own community to ensure that all children are able to be free, safe and educated. That means working with local organizations, but also finding ways to ask questions, as Amanda laid out, around who is making our goods, where our clothes are made, where’s your food coming from and really trying to do what we can to make sure that nothing is used with child labor and all children are able to have a childhood.”

The film will open wide on #GivingTuesday (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), but if you live in New York or Los Angeles you can see it earlier in November.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.