I would like to start by telling you a story about a young boy aged seven-called Anwar who two years ago started weaving carpets in a village in Pakistan's province of Sindh. He was given some food, little free time, and no medical assistance. He was told repeatedly that he could not stop working until he earned enough money to pay an alleged family debt. He was never told who in his family had borrowed money nor how much he had borrowed. Any time he made an error with his work, he was fined and the debt increased. Once when his work was considered to be too slow, he was beaten with a stick. Once after a particularly painful beating, he tried to run away, only to be apprehended by the local police who forcibly returned him to the carpet looms. Violated, helpless and the scars don't fade away. This is a start in life fit for no one, whose repercussions must reverberate through the lives of victims like Anwar. Yet it is happening day after day after day and in my opinion it must end.
Child Labour? More like child exploitation. This is an issue whose severity and ramifications are often, understandably, overlooked. I say understandably, of course, not out of any sympathy for the ignorance of the majority but rather because when you peel back the surface and come to realise the abuses of Child Rights evident in today's world one cannot help but be repelled. Repelled to the point that we quite simply don't want to know, repelled to the point that sitting in this today non of us are even able to comprehend the misery and deprivation that our peers and even those younger have to live through.
It is a sad fact that as I stand before you today Six hundred million children live in households with an income of less than 70pence a day. .
It is a sad fact that as I stand before you today 10 million children will have died, in the last year, from preventable diseases in Sub Saharan Africa.
And It is a sad fact that as I stand before you today there are 250 million child labourers in the world.