A group of men run through the crowded streets of India. They break into one building, climb the stairs, pry open the locks and search the rooms. “Not here!”, “Where are they?” The shouting voices resound. They run up the stairs to the roof where so many bags are piled up. Finally, they find children hidden in the piles, as if crushed.
Opening like an action film, “The Price of Free” is a documentary about the work of Kailash Satyarthi, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, for rescuing more than 80,000 children from slave labor.
The film also shows Bal Ashram, a rehabilitation center that provides children with mental and physical care and opportunities to study, leading to their reintegration into society. It is a relief to watch children who were initially frightened and crying, had been beaten or injured at work, or were very skinny because of insufficient meals at factories, regain their health and smiles.
On the other hand, the film shows that rescuing children from slavery is always an extremely dangerous activity. For example, undercover investigations reveal the dark schemes of human traffickers; Kailash and his family receive threats; and corruption is everywhere–the sheer scale of evil powers stand in the way of rescue efforts. Nevertheless, Kailash does not give up, saying passionately, “We need a whole range of approaches.”
How can we stand in solidarity with Kailash and his team? I would suggest you examine carefully the products that the children are making in the film. After watching it, ask yourself if you will choose products like those shown in the film. This will naturally change your purchasing behavior. There are things we do today, as Kailash says in the film, “to ensure that every child enjoys freedom in his/her childhood”. （Nozomi Kuriyama）