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Towards A Better Tomorrow For Trafficked Survivor

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Date : 19th December 2007.

Duration : 10.30 am to 2.30 pm

Restoration and rehabilitation were the two major issues faced by the trafficked survivors and in order to deal with such issues the following needs were very important – planning implementation strategy, identifying victim’s needs, empowerment/financial stability, shelter homes in the interior villages/districts and eventually tying up with corporates.

To start implementing the processes, IG, South Bengal suggested that there was a need for interstate co-ordination, inter agency co-operation such as the Social Welfare Department, police and the NGOs. He expressed uncertainty on whether we were able to identify the areas from where the girls were trafficked, whether all trafficked cases were registered or not with the police and if the cases were registered perhaps more number of traffickers could be brought to books. Over the years police has been involved with social legislation and despite sensitization there has been gaps. Police has an extended role to play and if trafficking could be officially registered traffickers could be identified.

There are 3 kinds of trafficked survivors :
i. Potential victims
ii. Presence in racket but not trafficked.
iii. Those trafficked.

The officer reiterated that it was difficult to identify survivors as the victims were reluctant to disclose their identity expecting threat, hence there was corruption at all levels in the enforcement system. In case the victim was identified the first step would be to urge for an immediate medical test but that was also a matter of concern as the trafficker or anyone associated with the racket could accompany the victim and prevent her from disclosing the truth. Hence there was a need for sensitization of the medical practitioner. Trauma was one of the major issues that needed to be addressed also, once the victim was identified which means emotional and legal assistance were the 2 areas of immediate support. Corporates had a major role to play specially in terms of social, family and rehabilitation support such as vocational training.

The officer emphasized the need for sensitisation at all levels, modules at micro level could be developed. A role model among the traffic survivors was very important for others to build on their lives. Any one organization could take the responsibility of adopting a victim, who could excel in education/cultural activities.

The Gram Panchayats and the Panchayat Pradhans unanimously felt that the victims refused to go to the police stations as there was no co-operation from the officials. They also shared that they had no information of children going missing nor children being restored back to their families.

Issues which further came up for discussion was that cross border trafficked victims were produced before the JJB

IG, Special Cell, West Bengal CID, a police unit and State’s highest crime fighting agency pointed out that there was need for ongoing trainings and sensitization of the police force considering the legal implications and magnitude of the problem and also because of frequent transfers of officials. He also focused on building a coalition of stake holders, CID as a catalyst in bringing commonality in anti trafficking work. The CID had organized meetings at 3 catchment areas of trafficking. The officer added that conviction in trafficking was nil, hence there was a need to strengthen the legal aspects. At times police had to disguise as a trafficker carrying a hidden camera. The CID was equipped with a Women & Children Cell

The Additional District Magistrate, North 24 Parganas talked about the National Rural Empowerment Scheme where girls were trained to make products, but its prime concern was inability to sell them.

The Panchayat from Murshidabad, West Bengal expressed concern over the way both boys and girls were trafficked to Bangalore and Hyderabad for labour as a result of which there was an increase in the number of HIV/AIDS in Murshidabad.

Mr. K.P.Sinha, Director, Social Welfare & Women & Child Development, shared that 80% of such schemes were supported by the Government of India, for instance the Cottage Scheme, the Sabalamba Prokolpa and Kishori Shakti Yojana.

Mr. Manab Mondal, Secretary, Socio Legal Aid Research Centre & National Co-ordinator, ATSEC suggested that there should be a single code on trafficking, all Acts need to be brought under one umbrella and support from the State had to come on time.

Referring to the corporates, he suggested that corporate social responsibility of one corporate could be an example for further replication elsewhere.