Fake show BBA (Global March, SACCS) and PR-shopping with Kidsrights

Posted on | januari 7, 2011 | 12 Comments

NL-Aid reported about BBA and their fake rescues from child labor at 19th September 2010 (see ‘Famous NGO in New Delhi: child rescues is nothing but a cash cow’). Founder of SACCS, BBA and Global March is Kailash Satyarthi. NL-Aid will give you an overview of the critics over the years, supplemented with documents, witness reports and new evidence for English speakers.

1995

The first publication against SACCS/BBA is a book ‘Kinderen van de krokodil’ (Children of the crocodile), by Rudi Rotthier, ISBN 90 254 1243 2. Rotthier is wondering why nobody is asking question about a list of names of rescued children. He describes playing with numbers and shifting truths. But the book is more or less forgotten, even soon after publication.

Page 79:
Het verwonderde me dat niemand bij een toch welvarende organisatie als SACCS probeert de vermiste kinderen op te sporen, of tenminste de lijsten bij te werken (It surprised me that nobody at a wealthy organisation like SACCS is trying to trace missing children, or at least tries to update the lists).

1998

In 1998 I send a press release about my findings about SACCS. At 19th February 1998 the first whistle blower article was published in the Dutch newspapers (download newspaper articles). The newspaper clearly indicate the question marks around the number of rescued children. I had more criticism. An overview:
• Within an hour, I have even witnessed the total number of 30,000 rescues changing into 50,000 and without rescuing one kid.
• SACCS/BBA had is not liberating children at all, there are no names of rescued children.
• Child labour and rescues are staged by known children from a nearby school for the eyes of journalists and officials. They actually believe it’s real.
• I have witnessed fake press releases, like the total number of children at the Global March Launch in November 1997. Worldwide it was published that 5000 children attended the launch but in fact there are only a few dozens to shoot some photo’s.
• SACCS/BBA claimed to be a coalition of 400 NGOs, but these organisations don’t know about the existing of this coalition.
• In 1998 I have seen a rescue by SACCS/BBA on TV, with a Dutch famous presenter of a lotto show. After this rescue the presenter hands over a cheque. The child they rescue is a child I have seen before in the rehabilitation camp of SACCS/BBA (the Mukti Ashram). An acted reality.

After these comments, Sylvia Borren from Oxfam Novib (at that time Director Projects, later Managing Director of Oxfam Novib) declares: “Novib wil precies weten hoeveel kinderen Saccs uit ‘kinderslavernij’ heeft bevrijd”, see second newspaper article. (Translation: Novib wants to know exactly how many children are freed by SACCS from child slavery). At that time a comforting thought. The title of the report: ‘Rescue/Rehabilitation Intervention of SACCS on Child Servitude’. I could not read the report because Borren was not willing to cooperate with me.

2002

The second book with critical remarks: ‘India in slow motion’, by Mark Tully, ISBN-13: 978-0-14-028208-5. In chapter Misplaced Charity, Tully criticized Kailash Satyarthi. Satyarthi was one of the founders of Rugmark label. This label ensures western importers of buying child-labour-free carpets. Nowadays, Satyarthi and Rugmark are separated and the critics of this coverage does not reflect Rugmark, although they are mentioned. With the following quotations I only want to expound the ways of Satyarthi.

Page 47:
Obeetee has been involved in the original negotiation which led to the formation of Rugmark. Vinoo had argued that inspection of carpet looms had to be done professionally. It couldn’t be done by an NGO. He had suggested two companies. One had refused to even consider inspecting such a complicated industry. Vinoo showed a letter from the other company, SGS India Ltd, the branch of a Swiss company, which did send representative to Mirzapur. On their return the company wrote, ‘It will not be feasible to monitor on a regular basis to ensure that carpets woven at various and far-flung units are meeting the required criteris.’

Page 48-50, concerning the Rugmark publicity:
I can’t bear to see all that exaggeration. It makes me sick.(…)The section of the television programme which dealt with India was the story of a child slave Huru and his rescue. The script maintained that as many as 300,000 children were enslaved on India’s carpet looms. It suggested SACCS was the only organization looking for child slaves, as part of the promotion of Rugmark, estimated that ‘as many as nine out of ten carpets which don’t carry the Rugmark label may have been touched by the small hands of slavery.’(…). Vinoo muttered, ‘that’s nonsense. Weaving a rug requires concentration and no child could weave twenty hours a day without producing a botched job which would be rejected by the manufacturer.’ (…) Vinoo pointed out other strange circumstances in the film. The father has asked SACCS to find his child, but did not have the first idea where the boy was. So how had SACCS located him? If there really were 300,000 slave children spread over thousands of square miles, it would mean they had found a needle in a haystack.(…) …so we thought perhaps that the raid had been staged by SACCS.

Page 50-51, talking to Dinesh and Sudhir, employees of SACCS:
When we asked details of the raids in Mirzapur, Dinesh became a little less confident, ‘There were some bonded adults released.’ We asked Sudhir whether he had ever found children on the looms of Obeetee or Hill and Company. He said, ‘Obeetee and Hill don’t have child labour. They have their own inspectors.’

Page 59-59, talking to Satyarthi:
Asked about the figure of 300,000 child slaves in the carpet industry (…), after some thought he explained that it was based on ‘some sort of assumption.’ (…) I asked yet again, ‘What evidence do you have?’
‘There was some studies’, he replied vaguely. When we’d arrive at the office, we had been given a publication written by Satyarthi himself.

Mark Tully, author of these writings, worked at the BBC for a period of 30 years and for 20 years he held the position of Chief of Bureau.

2005

In 2005 another evaluation was written, this time by professor Dutta. The title of the report: ‘Evaluation Study 2002 to 2005’ (Download HERE). On page 10 you are able to see a photo of those who assisted prof. Dutta. These people work at the SACCS-office. Not very objective. Tables about released kids like on page 37 are not proven. They just stand there, taken over from an official.

2009

In 2009, a miracle happens. Sylvia Borren retires. I approach Oxfam Novib again and the new board is willing to cooperate. Very sportive and transparant. I re-open the whole case. The following witness reports which I collected are vital:

23 April 2009, I received an e-mail from professor Juyal, author of ‘Rescue/Rehabilitation Intervention of SACCS on Child Servitude’:

‘I was not required to make visits all over India to make spot checks. Nobody started with the assumption that child labourers were not being rescued by SACCS/BBA and it was all a fake show, as it appeared to you.’

Professor Juyal received the order not to check the truth about the number of liberated children, unlike Borren had promised in the newspaper. Was it a preconceived cover up by Borren and SACCS/BBA? Or was it just the culture of how to check NGOs? (no check on track record, credulous/naive believe about statistics and only audits focussed on accountancy)

I am able to give you the following witness reports which I received by e-mail from former employees:

16 February 2009
‘I was still working there when you and a few other overseas volunteers had come for assisting in the upcoming Global March Against Child Labour. I would mention a few disgusting facts (there are a lot many) about SACCS and Satyarthi.

i) You are right that the number of child laboureres claimed to be rescued by SACCS jumped suddenly from 30,000 to 50,000. This happened sometime in 1997. As I remember, a new SACCS Brouchure was being prepared for printing. It was one staff named Choudhary who was preparing the draft brouchure. When Satyarthi saw the draft he remarked that why the number of children rescued was only 30,000. He askes Choudhary to make it to 50,000. And thus, instantly the number of children rescued by SACCS became since then 50,000. This can easily be verified from the SACCS BROUCHURES that were used in 1996-97 and 1997-98. The funding agencies as well as the so-called SACCS partners must be having both the brouchures.

ii) Mondira Dutta is a teacher in JNU. She is wife of Prof. B.Zutsi who is also a teacher in JNU. Prof. Zutsi is assocated with Satyarthi since long. He has been running an NGO and has been taking projects from Satyarthi. Even during 1996-97, Zutsi was doing some project for SACCS. So you can understand the obvious nexus between Zutsi, his wife Mondira Dutta and Satyarthi.

iii) In 1996-97, there used to be very few children in the Ashram (rehabilitation centre) at Burari (Delhi) which was being run by SACCS. When the donor agencies representatives used to inform SACCS that they would be visiting the Ashram on certain dates, the SACCS officials used to send telegrams to the local activists in Bihar, M.P. and U.P. to anyhow bring a few children from villages so that SACCS can show them to the donor agency representatives as being rehabilitated in the Ashram.’

13 March 2009
I definitely remember Prof. B.N. Juyal. He was from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. When I was working with SACCS in 1996-97, Prof. Juyal sometimes used to come to SACCS office in Delhi. Most probably he was at that time already retired from some college or university or perhaps from Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi. I think , Prof. Juyal was personally quite close to Mr. Satyarthi. Prof. Juyal was also involved in some capacity, perhaps as a member, with a committee for rehabilitation of child labourers rescued from the carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh. This committe was formed for channelising the funds of a cosortium of donor agencies and it was working from SACCS office. Prof. Juyal was most probably also associated with Rugmark Foundation at the behest of Mr. Satyarthi. Apart from this, Prof. Juyal seemed to be also doing some paid research work for SACCS, like Prof. B. Zutsi.

Professor Juyal and professor Dutta are financial related to SACCS/BBA. Not very objective. The conclusion was a foregone conclusion. I was not able to read the evaluation report by professor Juyal but the board of Oxfam Novib has send me a summary.

- START SUMMARY -

Lucknow, India, May 1, 1998, 26 pages plus 13 annexes

1. Introduction:
‘This exercise started with the objective of profiling in sheer quantitative terms the major achievements of SACCS in the last 15 years.’ ‘… the basic idea was just to find out number of bonded labour, families, adult and children would have been released and rehabilitated in these 15 years. … it also describes the processes/procedures involved in release and rehabilitation and difficulties encountered.’

2. Bonded liberation: a historical context

3. Evolution of SACCS/BBA – child servitude as the main issue
‘BBA is essentially a network of activists rather than of voluntary organisations/NGOs. BBA has grown an identity and image of its own and the national level campaign/movement has been built in its name.’
‘Since functioning of the Mukti Prathishthan, which was kind of holding trust for SACCS, was affected as a result of tensions that grew over 1993-94, a new legal entity known as AVA – Association of Voluntary Action was formed for a similar function.

  Year started Basis of member- ship Total members Number of states/ districts covered
SACCS 1989 organisations 450 NGOs 17
BBA 1994 Individuals 80.000 individuals 12 (51)

4. Legal Activism: the main strategy
‘… has set in motion a process by which employment of children as domestic servants will be made a punishable offence …
‘The presiding judge of the Supreme Court branch hearing the case, referred it to the National Human Rights Commission with the authorisation that in the case of bonded labour the NHRC will exercise all reinforcible powers of the Supreme Court.

5. Release of bonded child labour
‘… no other method has served to sensitise the media and the judiciary as the raids and the release of child labourers.’
‘The carpet belt has been the most challenging of the problem areas.’’
‘… thousand of children working under the family bondage system were released in the 1980s, notably from agriculture, stone quarries, brick kilns.’

states Child bonded (self) Family bondage Remarks
Uttar Pradesh 4595 19163 Carpet (4541); agri (18795)
Bihar - 1868 Brick kiln (1200; agri (668)
Madhya Pradesh 848 7934 Slate pencil (848); agri (7124)
Rajastan - 1795 Stone quarries (1208); brick kiln (587)
Haryana - 8187 Stone quarries (8094); brick kiln rest
Other states 138 3833 Major sectors-construction; mining; brick kiln
Total 5581 42780  
Grand total     48361

‘SACCS has not denied the possibility of some of the released children reverting back to bondage …’

6. Rehabilitation

‘There is a statement made by SACCS (1993) that about 60% of the released child labour had been rehabilitated.’
‘If technically, the issuance of release certificates is considered as rehabilitation’ the percentage released children rehabilitated over the period 1984-1998 is 58,4%. ‘This is much more an evidence of system failure at the government level than lack of effort on the part of SACCS.’

7. The Rugmark Foundation

8. Campaign style

9. Conclusion
‘Release of 48.361 bonded children, 4521 from the carpet industry alone, must be accepted as an immense achievement, considering not only the odds involved, but more than this the basic fact that it was a matter of releasing human beings held in captivity, by organised vested interests.

Bij het rapport zijn 13 annexen gevoegd m.b.t. ‘no. of bonded child labourers released/rehabilitated by SACCS per state by sector and by year (1981-1998).

- END SUMMARY -

The number of rescued children are not being proved at all. Just numbers, taken out of an Excel-spreadsheet.

2010

In 2010 I wrote and published the digital book
ontwikkelingssamenwerking ontwikkelt geen samenwerking
(development cooperation does not develop cooperation), which has been published on NL-Aid earlier. I describe all developments of SACCS/BBA, even the whole discussion in the Dutch Lower Chamber in 1998 and in 2009. It also contains a diary about my field trip concerning the coalition of 400 NGOs, SACCS/BBA claimed to be. I visited 10 so-called coalition partners. Those 10 NGOs were selected by the India Coordinator of the Global March. 5 of them said they are not a partner of SACCS whatsoever. I also visited 5 NGOs who participated in the Global March. 2 of them did not existed. Only 3 of them (like local Unicef) claimed to have some kind of relation with SACCS. 3 out of 10. The NGOs who were mentioned as partner did not liked the idea that SACCS is raising funds on behalf of other NGOs. 2 NGOs, Forum of Communication United Sercice (FOCUS) and Centre of Communication and Development (CCD), showed me child labour on the spot. SACCS/BBA could not show me any child labour in 12 months.

2010 is also a year, a whistle blower approached me with secret documents (see: audit balance sheet). It has been published on this site earlier. SACCS/BBA is receiving money from companies after they have rescued children from these companies (GAP and Merck Ltd). It smells like a total set up.

Conclusion

Satyarthi has directed his own academic references and literature, he has directed his own evaluators to proof his own track record and with his own hints, he has directed his own documentaries, he has directed a shaped show which the world wants to see with rescues and rehabilitation camps, he has directed his own ghost coalition and he has directed his own income with donors and exploited companies. Satyarthi has received several international prices, but does everybody know that his employees write hundreds up to thousands of letters to these organisations and everybody around them, for many years?

Kidsrights

An other story is interwoven in this complex release. In 2009 I had an appointment with one of the board members of Kidsrights. I talked several hours at their office. The organisation financial supports SACCS/BBA. Kidsrights was shocked about my story but they decided to continue the relation anyway, even after sending loads of evidence and arguments. They did not gave me one argument to motivate this choice. The only thing they have let me know is that SACCS/BBA had old computers. The board member said to me: ‘it hurts my heart to see these computers’. At 8th of February 2010 I wrote an article titled ‘PR-Shopping with Kidsrights’, referring to their annual TV-show during Christmas in which famous Dutch people are doing circus tricks for funding. To my opinion, the core problem of Kidsrights is their focus on PR instead of output. They publish everything around PR (front-policy), nothing on output (back-policy). Just like SACCS/BBA. I will explain it.

18 December 2010:
I wrote Kidsrights to invite them to read my coverage ‘Famous NGO in New Delhi: child rescues is nothing but a cash cow’.

21 December 2010:
I received an e-mail that the audit balance sheets are stolen during a burglary at SACCS-office and the documents were handed over to me. I should not cooperate with these kinds of activities. Satyarthi has used the burglary-excuse several times before. If someone’s was asking about particular crucial evidence, a sad story about a burglary was always leading. Perhaps, this time Satyarthi is right but in general his answers are very much focussed on circumstantial ingredients, in order to mislead. I replied to Kidsrights that’s I am free to publish anything. I asked them about a list of names and addresses of about 60,000 kids. There was no follow up.

22 December 2010:
I made a telephone call to Kidsrights to talk to the one responsible. She was on leave. I wrote her to make contact with me and gave my telephone number. There was no follow up.

27 December 2010:
I informed Kidsrights again about a new publication (this one). There was no follow up.

January 2011:
A friend of my has send a request about tranfering money. My friend received a respond within 23 minutes.

In 2009, I received complete radio silence as regards to output and in December 2010 everything about this subject is avoided again. I only received arguments on the level of circumstantial ingredients both in 2009 and in 2010. Furthermore, Kidsrights did not publish an audit focussed on output, justifying the spending after I had warned the board in 2009. The tax payers, members and donors are entitled to some answers, in particular what they have done with the money after this conversation. In 1997, 1998, 2009 and in 2010, I have asked Kailash Satyarthi for proven documents about 60,000 rescues they claimed to have executed. I did not received any reply on all dates. There is nothing to be found on the Internet and western NGOs are hiding their heads in the sand for decades. Why is PR-shopping far more interesting then real data of output/outcome? Would this also tell us something about the quality of aid of their other projects? I hope I am wrong. But am I?

The following organisations are of have been related to Kailash Satyarthi and his NGOs:
Cocoa Initiative, Campaign for Education, African Child Forum, Global Greengrants Fund, Anti-Slavery International, Bread for the World (Brot für die Welt), Stichting Kinderpostzegels, Wilde Ganzen, Kidsrights, Oxfam Novib, Christian Aid, Aob, Department of Health Human Service, Asian South Pacific Bureau of Adult Education, Laend Maedchenschul Khadigram, Catholic Relief Services, Entarian Enterprises Software Manufacture, the Gale Group, Tropical Forestry Services, the Hunger Project, Fibres of Life, UNICEF, Landelijke India Werkgroep, FNV, Save the Children, NCDO, Ministerie van Sociale Zaken, Amnesty International, Child Labor Coalition, RF Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights, ANPPCAN, Canadian Labour Congress, Dreikonigsaktion, Centre for World Dialogue, Labour Movement International Forum, Trade Union Solidarity Centre of Finland, Marche Mondiale contre l’exploitation des enfants, Rainer Kruse, Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Terre des Hommes, University of Michigan, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, La Hospitalet, Education International and many others.

AUTHOR: Hans Sluijter
URL: www.NL-Aid.org
E-MAIL:

 

 

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PHOTO:
* The caricature photo in top: this is not intended to focus on one (western) NGO in particular but to all (western) NGOs focussed on front-policy.
* Copyright Remy Musser / www.Netfalls.com

Comments

12 Responses to “Fake show BBA (Global March, SACCS) and PR-shopping with Kidsrights”

  1. Stichting KidsRights
    januari 7th, 2011 @ 16:30

    KidsRights has no reason to doubt BBA as a trustworthy partner. Besides that we understand that Hans Sluijter has been invited once again to check the records of BBA at their headquarters in Delhi. We hope that he will take on this invitation and of course we are interested to hear the results of that visit.

  2. Ramesh Gupta, Sr. Advocate,President BBA,
    januari 10th, 2011 @ 07:58

    Dear Hans,
    In an article published on the blog, NL-Aids.org in December 2010, you have alleged that child labourers were not being rescued by BBA and it included a stolen balance sheet from the BBA office.
    As explained to you before in 2009, we would like to reiterate that BBA has a rigourous system of documenting each and every child labourer that it rescues and rehabilitates. In fact, the out-of-school children that BBA interacts with are also documented in a systematic manner. The details of each rescue, cases registered thereafter, etc., and all such information is in public domain and may be easily found through Police records, Labour Departments records, Supreme Court of India and various High Courts’ records, and also with us. We will not be provoked into disclosing the details of the children and putting their lives or safety at risk.
    Any individual or organisation, including yourself, that wants to verify these can do so by simply visiting the BBA office and we would like to invite you to our headquarters in Delhi for the same where you can see all names, addresses, case details and even photographs of over 1000 children rescued by us in 2009-2010. These records are not public to ensure the safety of the child beneficiaries and in compliance with child protection legal mechanisms of India.
    Ramesh Gupta
    President
    Senior Advocate

  3. Vajpai
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 03:50

    I am not sure about the details of the story, sometime it looks generic and in other sense there are serious doubts about number of children. I am also wondering so see the response of Mr. Ramesh Gupta, that only talks about 1000 children. What about spoken 30-50000 children as mentioned in the story, he should explain and put the details further, if not the exact names. This will be more transparent way for his BBA’s point.

  4. Patricia de Leur
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 07:38

    Is Ramesh Gupta the president of BBA? Where is his statement about more then 70,000 rescues? He is only talking about a 1000. Has Kidsrights been sleeping? I was always doubting about this organisation. There is nothing to be found on their website about output, like many aid organizations. Indeed, Kidsright is very focussed on PR (I recognise PR-shopping), but there is also no comments from Kidsrights about these allegations. I would like to see evidence by BBA and Kidsrights !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Adriaan Alders
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 08:31

    Kidsrights, I only see them when they need money

  6. Marc Cartwrite
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 11:03

    I know someone who worked at Christian Aid and he was also telling about the fake show of SACCS.

  7. Christine Conrad
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 11:50

    I am glad someone like Hans Sluijter is daring to be open and honest. His coverage is a revelation, not only about BBA and Kidsrights but concerning assistance in general.

  8. Christine Conrad
    januari 12th, 2011 @ 11:52

    Is this the only thing the president of BBA is investing into this dialogue? Forceless.

  9. Elisabeth Moore
    januari 17th, 2011 @ 06:56

    I have seen a 100% warranty at the website of Kidsrights, so give us the evidence Hans Sluijter is asking for.

  10. Mark van der Laan
    januari 18th, 2011 @ 09:07

    Mijn gevoel zegt wederom dat ontwikkelingsorganisaties in Nederland alleen bezig zijn met hun eigen carrière en het fijn vinden om als een sinterklaas cadeautjes weg te geven. Hun gevoel is belangrijker dan de feiten. Hoe kun je zeggen dat je BBA vertrouwd zonder dit te (kunnen) bewijzen? Ik begrijp er geen snars van dat dergelijke organisaties er al decennia mee wegkomen. Eigenlijk zou iedereen en de gehele politiek in opstand moeten komen. Onze belastinggelden worden door een zeef weggespoeld.

  11. Nadia Ul Rebaq
    januari 19th, 2011 @ 13:21

    Salam Walae Kum Hans,

    After reading the Blog, I personally wrote to Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) asking questions about the claims that you have highlighted in your blog. They have forwarded me the email that you had marked to BBA turning down their invitation to visit their office for cross checking the records for yourself.

    I find it very surprising.

    In the first place you raise questions defaming a reputed social organization. When the Organization pro-actively reciprocates and invites you over for cross checking the records you conveniently turn down the proposal.

    You claim that BBA has not been rescuing children where as BBA’s President has openly asked you to check the record of 1000 people that have been rescued in the last one year. Now that you have turned down BBA’s offer t to scrutinize and verify their records, I am completely assured that your claim was nothing more than a figment of your vivid imagination.
    In the nutshell you have lost all face and your blog has been ripped off all credibility.

    And — by the way—- The organization that you claim to be not doing anything has been continuously making headlines for the past one week for rescuing children. Check these links for yourself and all your doubts would pacify once and for all.

    http://news.oneindia.in/2011/01/18/29child-labourersrescued-aid0126.html

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Forty-three-child-labourers-rescued/articleshow/7271917.cms#ixzz1BU9DYZJx

    Al Hum Du Lillah.

  12. Estella
    april 13th, 2011 @ 11:54

    Wow! That’s a really neat awsenr!

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