Sample Speech # 4
Free the Children Address before the
by Craig Kielburger
Craig Kielburger's work as an advocate for Free the
Children has offered him the opportunity to deliver hundreds of persuasive
speeches to enlist the support of individuals, organizations, and governments
to protect children from exploitation. In the following speech, Kielburger
faces a formidable challenge as a thirteen-year-old addressing the
June 11, 1996
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, Ladies and Gentlemen:
I am pleased to be here today to represent children. Child labor affects children—children are being exploited and denied their basic rights, children are being abused. I believe that children must be heard when speaking about child labor—I believe that we must be part of the solution.
I recently spent seven and a half weeks traveling
I can tell you stories of what I saw—stories which would shock you. I met children as young as four years old, working in brick kilns making bricks seven days a week from dawn to dusk, children working 14 hours a day loading dangerous chemicals into firecracker tubes, children working in metal and glass factories, children physically and verbally abused. Some children I'll never forget—like Nagashar, who worked as a bonded laborer in a carpet factory. He had scars all over his body, including his voice box, where he had been branded with red-hot irons for trying to escape. Or the nine-year-old boy with a deep scar that ran across the top of his head where he was had [sic] been hit with a metal bar for making a mistake on the job. Then there was Munianal, the eight-year-old girl who worked in a recycling plant taking apart used syringes and needles gathered from hospitals and the streets. She wore no shoes and no protective gear. No one had ever told her about AIDS. These are the working children.
Not just facts and statistics, but real children.
Some of you may say, “Well, these children are poor.
Don't they have to work to help their families
survive?” Studies by UNICEF, the ILO and other nongovernmental organizations
have shown that child labor is actually keeping
As consumers, we bear part of the responsibility. Is it fair for children to be sitting on the ground for 12 hours a day, for pennies a day sewing famous brand name soccer balls—which they will never get to play with—soccer balls shipped to countries like ours for your children, your grandchildren, or for me?
It is simply a question of greed and
exploitation—exploitation of the most weak and vulnerable. These greedy people
include companies going into the
We, the children of
We believe that children must be removed from factories, and jobs [must be] given to adult members of the family—adults who can negotiate for better rights and working conditions.
We believe that companies which go into
We have consumers calling our Free the Children
office from all over
That is why a labeling system with independent
monitoring, which clearly identifies items not made by child labor, is
necessary. Another solution is to hold importers responsible for making sure
that the products they are importing into
In May 1995, UNICEF set an example with a no-child-labor clause in its buying policy based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
I have been told that the
Child labor should not be used, however, as an excuse to stop trade with a developing country. We are advocating selective buying, not a boycott of all products, which could harm children even more.
I don't know why anyone would oppose laws which
protect the children of the world. Maybe companies, sports and TV
personalities, maybe consumers, might have said until recently that they don't
know about child labor and the exploitation of workers in
Eliminating child labor comes down to a question of political will. Why are countries with a high incidence of child labor spending on average 30 times more on the military than on primary education? How serious are world leaders about helping these children? Where is the social conscience of multinational corporations?
I have hundreds of pictures of children which I could
have shown you today. I have brought only one. When I was in
What will you do to help these children?
1. What is the general purpose of this speech? What is the specific purpose and thesis?
2. What plan for organizing persuasive speeches best fits the way Craig Kielburger structures his argument?
3. How does Kielburger capture the audience's attention?
4. How does the speaker establish his own credibility?
5. How does Kielburger establish a need to protect children from exploitation?
6. What specific satisfaction to this need, or solution to this problem, does Kielburger offer?
7. What specific type of appeal (ethos, pathos, logos) does Kielburger rely on in persuading his audience?
8. Describe the visual imagery that Kielburger uses to drive his message home.
9. What specific action does Kielburger request of his audience?