BUENOS AIRES – Argentine rapper Pablo Javier Carballo has taken his rap performances to the Buenos Aires Metro, where he is trying to get commuters to fight child labor.
With a microphone and a small loudspeaker, Carballo boards a train every day and begins rapping for two or three hours in defense of the children found selling different products on Metro line D.
“When I get on the subway, I tell people to not give them coins when they see them, but to recognize them as boys,” the street artist told EFE in an interview.
The 34-year-old rapper knows firsthand the suffering of child exploitation since he is himself a victim of this type of human rights violation.
After speaking with officials, police and prosecutors to help defend exploited children and receiving the same hopeless answer, he used music as a way to take action.
On his quest to deal with his own “fears” and “feelings,” Carballo said he drew inspiration from his three lives: the lost young man with no family; the married man and owner of several factories; and the colon cancer survivor.
The rapper and activist has made many enemies, especially among the criminal organizations behind child exploitation, leading to some broken teeth and bones.
Although Law 26,390 bans child labor, the rapper said the legislation was not being implemented and children continued to go unprotected.
Carballo left his job to dedicate 100 percent of his time to fighting child exploitation.
Some 7 percent of children between the ages of 5 to 15 are victims of this crime in Argentina, UNICEF figures show.
The rapper was offered a record deal, which he turned down for now to keep the focus on his cause.