An advocate for children’s rights from Chennai receives a prestigious US award 2023

The United States Consulate in this city announced on Tuesday that the 2023 Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labor would be presented to Lalitha Natarajan, a lawyer and activist located in this city.

During a recent event that was conducted at the Consulate General here, US Consul General Judith Ravin handed Natarajan the medal that she had been given.

According to a press release issued by the US Consulate, the Iqbal Masih prize is a non-monetary prize that was established by the Secretary of Labour in 2008 to honor remarkable achievements to the fight against child labor. This award was required by the US Congress.

She also hailed Natarajan as a true champion. 

Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani kid who was forced into slavery as a carpet weaver at the age of four and managed to escape his captors when he was ten years old, is honored with the award that bears his name.

Iqbal Masih rose to prominence as a vocal opponent of the commercial exploitation of children, a cause for which he was honored with a number of prestigious human rights accolades before his untimely death in 1995, when he was only 12 years old.

The award is given in remembrance of the World Day Against Child Labor, which takes place on June 12 of each year and aims to “increase awareness and activism to prevent child labor,” as the statement further said.

According to the announcement, Natarajan has spent her whole professional life as a lawyer and activist working to bring rights-based methods to the problem of child labor. ”As a pioneer in the struggle to eradicate exploitative child labor in southern India, she is responsible for identifying child victims of trafficking, more especially bonded labor, and aiding in the victims’ re-integration into society.

She ensures that victims receive compensation in accordance with the Child Labor Act and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act in her role as a member of the Child Welfare Committee (North Zone) under the Department of Social Defense, Government of Tamil Nadu.

POCSO and the Child Labor Act. In addition to her work on issues related to child labor, Lalitha Natarajan offers victims of domestic violence and sexual assault help in the form of legal representation and counseling, according to the statement.

According to what Judith Ravin was cited as saying, the fight against forced labor is a top concern for both the government of the United States of America and the people of the United States. In addition to this, she praised Natarajan for being a “real champion.”

Natarajan is quoted as having commented, “I feel honored to receive the prestigious Iqbal Masih Award for the Elimination of Child Labour from the United States Department of Labour.” Because of this honor, I will be even more inspired to advocate for the rights of children.

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