How schools can fight scourge
Educational institutions, particularly schools, are an important stakeholder in preventing human trafficking, speakers highlighted at a workshop organised here by the US Consulate in Calcutta and Shakti Vahini, a Delhi-based anti-trafficking NGO.
Around 50 participants, including police personnel, NGO workers and youths, participated on the first day of the two-day workshop, titled “From one to many : Ignite the force.”
“Such a problem (human trafficking) can't be solved by any single agency or NGO and all must work together and partnership with youth is an important aspect of the campaign,” said Sonia Laul, political and economic officer at the US Consulate Calcutta.
“I’ve seen trafficked girls who landed in Delhi hardly had any education,” said Vanessa Bouche, an anti-trafficking expert who teaches at Texas Christian University and is also associated with Suvhera, a Delhi based organisation that works to rehabilitate trafficked girls.
Schools, Bouche said, can play an important role in empowering vulnerable girls.
“Dealing with trafficked girls is a sensitive issue and must be dealt with proper sensitivity,” said Anurag Gupta, Jharkhand additional director-general of police in charge of the CID, adding it was a good sign that the police force now had a good number of women officers who could deal with the issue with proper sensitivity.
“The girls who drop out from schools are vulnerable so far as child labour, early marriage or even trafficking are concerned,” said Ananya Chakraborty, chairperson of Bengal's commission for protection of child rights.
She said anti-trafficking campaigns at schools would really help.
“Focusing on schools would surely help creating awareness and also check trafficking,” agreed Ram Yatan Yadav, deputy director in Jharkhand’s secondary education department.
Monitoring attendance of students at school and contacting guardians whenever any student is absent for a long time would help keeping a watch on students from vulnerable backgrounds, he felt.
“Schools are an important link in the chain and we shouldn't overlook it,” said Rishikant of Shakti Vahini.
He said that schools also played a great role in rehabilitating trafficked girls. It was the last of the three such workshops. The earlier two were held in Guwahati and Patna over the past one week.