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self-defence

Karate lessons for trafficking survivors at Canning

Three-month camp organised by NGO and Baruipur police

Debraj Mitra | Published 27.08.22, 08:16 AM
The camp at Canning, South 24-Parganas, had around 30 participants

The camp at Canning, South 24-Parganas, had around 30 participants

Representational picture

A woman threw punches at an invisible adversary; another one practised kicks with vigour.

The first woman is fighting a legal battle against people who had trafficked her to a brothel.

The second was rescued from a Delhi-bound train as a teenager. A karate camp started on Thursday with many women who are trafficking survivors.

The camp at Canning, South 24-Parganas, had around 30 participants.

A police officer said the “ultimate objective” of the three-month camp, organised jointly by Baruipur police and NGO Goranbose Gram Bikas Kendra, was to instil “confidence” in the women.

Activists said the training will come in handy for the women, many of whom face regular harassment and intimidation from traffickers and their associates.

“The police can rescue them from trafficking rackets. But their fight does not end with that. Their rehabilitation is a long and difficult process. Self-defence training is an important tool in that journey,” said Tanusree Mondal, officer-in-charge of Canning women’s police station, one of the organisers of the camp.

Kakali Das of Goranbose Gram Bikas Kendra said many women do not pursue cases against traffickers for fear of stigma.

“But those who dare to are intimidated by traffickers or their aides. We want these women to stand up to such people,” said Das.

A 20-year-old woman from Basanti, in South 24-Parganas, was trafficked when she was a minor.

She was rescued from a brothel in Delhi in 2017.

She has been pursuing a case against her alleged tormentors. She has faced threat calls multiple times.

The callers have threatened to “break her limbs”.

“I want to give it back to them,” the woman, one of the participants at the camp, told The Telegraph over the phone on Thursday.

Another woman, now 21, was returning home from school when she was thirsty. She was offered water by a man. The water was spiked. When she came to her senses, she was on a Delhi-bound train.

A ticket examiner arrived in time and she raised an alarm. She was eventually brought back to Bengal but the incident scarred her.

“She stopped going to school. It took several counselling sessions to get her back on track,” said Das.

The girl, also one of the participants in Thursday’s camp, has since completed her graduation. Debabrata Haldar, the trainer, said karate increased both physical and mental strength.

“Today was the beginning. I don’t expect these women to become experts in three months. But I hope they will have the courage to stand up to oppressors,” said Haldar, a combat trainer who has conducted several camps for state police in the past.

Last updated on 27.08.22, 08:16 AM
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