Category Archives: INDIA

Trafficked victim from Assam rescued from Forced Marriage

mardaani01-jun24New Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday rescued a 27 year old woman jointly with Delhi Commission for Women and Shakti Vahini, a national level voluntary organisation, from forced marriage in Mangol Puri area from the confinement of one Virender. Acting sensitively on the information received by Shakti Vahini and Delhi Commission for Women, Mangol Puri SHO Inspector (Mr.) Arvind Kumar immediately constituted a team and a raid was conducted in J Block, Mangol Puri area on 30th June, 2015 and Virender was arrested.

The victim went missing in March this year from her native place on her way to market. Later in May she managed to call her father, from Virender’s mobile when he was not around. She gave her whereabouts which acted as tip off to the whole rescue operation of the victim.

“I searched the house and managed to trace my daughter in Mangol Puri, I told Virender that I have only come to see my daughter and will not take her back. But later I approached Shakti Vahini and today my daughter has been rescued with the help of Delhi Police” said father of the victim.

A missing complaint was filed by the family of the girl in May, 2015 which was immediately converted into FIR after the rescue of the girl in Gorchuk Police Station, based on which Delhi police here arrested Virender who claimed to be victim’s husband.

During counselling the victim mentioned that while going to market around three months back, she was forcefully pulled into a car by some unknown boys. These boys threatened her if she dares to make any noise. The victim said that she was forced to drink water which was laced with some sedatives. “I was brought to a railway station from where I was brought to Delhi in train along with one more girl. On reaching Delhi Station, the boy who brought us to Delhi made a call to someone and mentioned that he has brought two girls. After some time a man came in an auto and took us to a flat in Gurgaon where we were confined for almost a month” said victim.

The victim further revealed that she was threatened to marry Virender else she will be forced into prostitution; hence she agreed to marry Virender. She said that Virender’s Brother in Law named Kailash came to final the deal and two days after the deal she was married off to Virender in Hanuman Mandir in Mangol Puri and its only then she saw Virender and his Family.

“I was made to work from 5 a.m to 2 a.m and was regularly abuse sexually by Virender. Virender also assaulted me physically and I was not even given proper food. Virender told me that I can go back to my home after giving him two to three children” said victim.

The victim girl was given shelter in women’s home after her medical in Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital, Mangol Puri. The accused in in police custody and Assam police team will be arriving shortly to take the custody of accused.


Trafficked Victim Rescued

Situational report on Human trafficking in Jharkhand


Jharkhand has today emerged as a major source area for intra-country trafficking in India. Most of the trafficking from Jharkhand is of tribals for domestic labour to metropolitan cities where there is a demand for such work. In cities like Delhi, a number of illegal placement agencies have cropped up.  These agencies take advantage of legal loopholes to traffic mostly innocent girls in the name of providing employment but instead are put into extreme conditions of forced labour. 12-14 hours of work every day is a routine practice for these girls. Many of those rescued also report physical and sexual abuse. Several cases of Sexual slavery have also been reported from the victims rescued in Delhi. Some of the victims are trafficked to Haryana and Punjab for the purpose of Bonded Labour and Forced marriage.

IMG_5222Recent news reports also point to the emergence of trafficking of women from Jharkhand for surrogacy, deliver babies who are then sold off.

Jharkhand is not only a source but also a destination for the victims trafficked for sexual exploitation. There are Red Light areas existing in the districts of Dhanbad, Bokaro and Hazaribag. The trafficking affected districts include Gumla, Garwah, Sahibganj, Dumka, Pakur, West Singhbhum (Chaibasa), Ranchi, Palamu, Hazaribag, Dhanbad, Bokara, Girdih, Kodarma and Lohardagga. Most of the women trafficked from Jharkhand belong to Oraon, Munda, Santhal (including endangered Pahariya ) and Gond tribes, out of which, maximum are from Oraon and Munda. The Palamau and Garhwa districts are highly prone to trafficking for child labour in the carpet industry in Uttar Pradesh. Jharkhand is also a transit for the traffickers trafficking girls from Chattisgarh. The traffickers or the placement agents of the tribal states like Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal are working in close network.

Trafficking of children from Jharkhand mostly takes place through the well organized placement agency rackets in Delhi. These placement agencies supply tribal children to the homes of National Capital Region consisting of Delhi, Faridabad, Gurgaon and Noida. These agencies mostly target the children of age group 11-16 who remain tight lipped even after exploitation. The trafficked victims are kept in congested rooms, fed barely enough for survival till they are placed somewhere. The luckier ones land in a ‘kothi’ as a domestic help. The others are sold in marriage or to a brothel where they suffer never-ending abuse in all forms. These victims of trafficking have to go through series of exploitation starting from the source-traffickers, placement agents and employers.

The traffickers in the source areas of Jharkhand and in the destination areas of North India work as network and are very organised. The Shakurpur area under Punjabi Bagh Police station in Delhi is flooded with Placement agents either belonging to Jharkhand or having links with Jharkhand.

This trafficking from Jharkhand, as some of the recent rescues reveal, is fairly organized. Illiteracy, lack of sustainable employment, poor irrigation facilities for agriculture, single crop patterns, lack of awareness, political instability are some reasons that make people vulnerable to trafficking. Traffickers take advantage of these situations that make people vulnerable to agreeing to unsafe migration who then end up as victims of trafficking. There is a network of well organized routes and trains that get frequently used by traffickers for this. The Traffickers mostly use the Jharkhand Sampark Kranti Express, Muri Express and Swarna Jayanti Express to take the children.

Reports state that thousands of girls have gone missing from Jharkhand’s Tribal hinterlands, however the state has no record. The tribal districts of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal are most vulnerable to trafficking. In Jharkhand thousands of girls and boys are missing. It is also noticed that school going girls and boys are equally vulnerable to the risk of trafficking.

Jharkhand faces a huge problem of child labour. The state has been running the National Child Labour Project in Garwah, Sahibganj, Dumka, Pakur, West Singhbhum (Chaibasa), Gumla, Palamu, Hazaribagh and Ranchi.

To add to this, the state machinery has a long way to go to effectively protect trafficking victims, prosecute traffickers, or prevent trafficking. The rehabilitation set up is almost non-existent and probably needs the most work. Political will is also lacking to effectively tackle human trafficking plaguing the state. Extensive work is also required in tracing the missing children of Jharkhand especially after Sen and Nair (2005) made the link between missing children and trafficking clear.

Vigilance Groups being formed across North Bengal to prevent Human Trafficking


Shakti Vahini through its Anti Trafficking and Justice Project has formed vigilance Groups across North Bengal to prevent Human Trafficking by Involving the Community.

The Initiative is strengthening the Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPC) and ensuring citizens involvement in Preventing Human Trafficking. Vigilance Groups which are being formed across various Tea Estates in North Bengal Districts of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri and are being involved to keep a watch on the movement of Traffickers and also spreading awareness in the village on the dangers of Human Trafficking.

These vigilance groups have been taking initiative to disseminate the anti trafficking information among the villagers through pamphlets, folders, meeting, street plays.

IMG_3154The need felt was because of increased trafficking from the region and also because of the geographical position of the region as it has international borders with Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. It is the need of the hour to empower the community people to prevent this organized crime.

One of the Group leader of the Village Groups said, “Human Trafficking in the name of labour, prostitution and forced marriage is a serious problem in our society. It is a good platform to discuss things together and we all have to organize to fight this organized crime. The gap between the police and the community need to be reduced by implementing community policing programme in the villages. We ensure that the anti trafficking messages, its precaution and various help line numbers will be disseminated among the community people through the vigilance group.”

“The age old child marriage system which is rampant in north Bengal and one of the most important reasons for trafficking for young girls is being prevented with the help of the Kanyashree scheme. The sensitization programmes with the community mothers to protect their young daughter from the trafficking net has created a major impact in the society. The women in the society are coming out to sensitize the adolescent girls on child trafficking issues.” Mr. Banerjee added.



Trafficking Kingpin Pannalal Arrest Brings Focus to Illegal Placement Agencies Indulging in Human Trafficking


The hide and seek of Panna Lal and his wife came to an end on 19th October, 2014 with their arrest by Crime Branch Delhi and Jharkhand Anti-human Trafficking Unit under various charges from Shakurpur area of Delhi. 31 years old Panna Lal and his 37 year old wife Sunita were most wanted in various FIRs in Jharkhand. Human Trafficking kingpin, Panna Lal and his wife have been trafficking minor and young tribal girls from the remote areas of Jharkhand.

Search For Pannalal and His Wife

On 13th October, Panna Lala’s Sister in law Gayatri was arrested for illegally bringing minor girls from Jharkhand and then selling them off in domestic Slavery. Gayatri was also a named accused in a FIR in Jharkhand. Fearlessly, she was running a Gayatri placement agency in M Block, Shakurpur, Delhi and operating from there.

On 13th October, 2014 a raid was conducted by Jharkhand AHTU team and Delhi Crime Branch along with Shakti Vahini (for search of trafficked victims) in which Gayatri was arrested. She was produced in Rohini court same day and was later taken to Jharkhand.

A search for Panna Lal and Sunita was also conducted at different hideout of Panna Lal in Shakur Pur but the couple was not found. Meanwhile a strong informer network was developed by Jharkhand AHTU in Shakurpur to get the details of Panna Lal and his wife.

Arrest of Pannalal and His Wife

Jharkhand AHTU S.I Aradhana Singh kept a watch at the house of Panna Lal in Shakurpur through informers. Getting a tip off from the informer about the whereabouts of Panna Lal and Sunita, Sub Inspector Aradhana Singh immediately Co-ordinated with Delhi Crime Branch and a raid was conducted early morning at Panna Lal’s residence in Shakur Pur and both were arrested on 19th October, 2014.

Jharkhand AHTU team reached Delhi to take the custody of Panna Lal and Sunita. With no remorse on their faces, the Couple was produced before Duty Magistrate, Rohini Court at around 2:30 P.M and were sent to Tihar Jail. Jharkhand AHTU will be given the custody of the couple in their next production before the court.

Modus Operendi of Panna Lal and Sunita

Panna Lal and Sunita were running more than 200 illegal placement agencies with different names in Delhi whereby they were bringing minor girls from Jharkhand and were selling them as domestic slaves with an advance payment of Rs 20,000 to Rs 30,000/- per girl, in the affluent house of Delhi.

Panna Lal and wife Sunita used to target the minor girls and the most vulnerable families of remote and tribal areas of Jharkhand. Once a girl is being targeted, she is lured with false promises of marriage, good job, education or good life. Families were also given assurance that the girl will be given a good life and her salary will be sent to them every month. After the girl is being taken to Delhi, she is confined and placed into houses by these placement agencies of Panna Lal, to work from early morning till late nights without any break or holiday. The salary of the girl is also taken by Panna Lal. Every girl is placed in a house for 11 months and was then after 11 months she is further placed in other house. Victims are not allowed to go back to their home or to meet their relatives.

The trafficking victims were exploited not only by these persons but also by their employers. Those who are fortunate enough get rescued by Police or anti-Trafficking organisation while other stay confined as slaves.

IMG_5222Delhi: A hub of illegally running placement agencies

Delhi has rapidly become a hub for placement agencies in past few years. Areas like Tughlakabad, Ranibagh, Punjabi Bagh, Shakurpur, Shakarpur etc emerged out as centres for these placement agencies. There more than 10,000 placement agencies illegally running in Delhi and more than 4000 of these agencies are situated at Shakurpur only under the jurisdiction of Subhash Place police station. While a very small number of these agencies are registered under Labour Department but they have not comply with the rules yet. There is no law to regulate these agencies so far due to which these agencies are fearlessly trafficking minors from States of Jharkhand, Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and Orissa. Even if an agency is raided and closed down, the agents get away easily and reopen a new agency with different name and address and the never ending cycle of exploitation of minor girls continues.

Jharkhand C.I.D, last year handed over a list of 240 agents and agencies running illegally in Delhi and involved in trafficking minor girls from Jharkhand, a copy of which was also given to Shakti Vahini. The names of Panna Lal and Sunita were also exposed in the list. The Jharkhand police was looking out for these two traffickers since a long time and with the arrest of Panna Lal and Sunita, Jharkhand police hoping that many other names may come out.

Role of placement agencies in Child Trafficking

Placement agencies are playing a major role in trafficking minor girls as well as children for the purpose of labour, sex slavery and forced marriages. The traffickers have changed their modus operandi with the changes in law and society.

In most of the cases the trafficker is known to the victim who convinces the victim and her/his family and further sell them over to placement agent. The placement agencies generally recruit a person to target the girls and then pick them up (By luring or sometimes by kidnapping) and bring them to main cities of the state. From the main cities another person come in charge and further take the victims to railway station from where they are handed over to another person and brought to Delhi. After reaching Delhi, the victims are further handed over to another person and brought to Placement agencies.

Some victims are then placed in various houses as domestic help with a payment of Rs 20,000/- to Rs 30,000/- , while others are sold off into forced marriages or Prostitution. The girls who are placed in houses with a monthly salary of Rs 1000 or Rs 3000 never get their wages. A girl is placed in one house for 11 months and every month the placement agencies take their salary which never reaches the victims or their families. Once a victim completes her 11 months in house, she is further placed into another house and the exploitation continues.

For objecting the work given by placement agencies, the victims are tortured, thrashed and beaten up badly, many times these victim girls report sexual violence and assault by the placement agents and even by their employers. The girls are kept confined in the placement agencies till the time they are sold further.

These placement agencies keep on changing their addresses, name and contact details to escape from law. Taking benefits of various loop holes in law and government machineries the placement agencies operate freely and actively.

What can be done?

A time when, the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi is focussing on labour reforms and giving dignity to labour, the country on the other hand fails to recognise one of the main work force i.e. Domestic Labour. Domestic Labour or Domestic Worker constitutes a huge work force in India which usually remained hidden in closed doors of our houses.

Need to regulate the placement agencies

There is an urgent need to regulate the placement agencies operating in Delhi. A bill to regulate the placement Agencies and to recognise domestic worker as a work force, named “The Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill 2012, was presented before the government. But, the bill is not passed yet.

Chhattisgarh in this context has taken a vital step by becoming the first state to launch the Private Agencies (Regulation) Act this year.

Recently, on 25th September, 2014, Labour Department, Governemnt of National Capital Territory of Delhi in compliance with the order of Delhi high court in writ Petition (Crl.) 82/2009 , passed an executive order whreby the placement agencies are directed to get themselves registered under “Delhi Shops & Establishment Act, 1954” or “Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979 before 25th October, 2014.

PLACEMENT shakti vahiniSilent Features of the Order:

A domestic worker is defined as the person who is of the age 18 years or more who performs domestic work only sporadically and is employed through a contractor.

Placement agencies shall provide the details of their details, Number of persons/ domestic workers, who are employed through them with their names, age and addresses, Details or salaries fixed, addresses of employers, period of employment, nature of work, details of commissions received from the employers.

The applicant will be given a license to run his/her placement agency after 15 days of issuance of the registration certificate by Labour department.

Every Domestic Worker will issued an attested pass book by his/her placement agency indicating name, age, address, employer’s name, period of employment, payment of wages etc.
Agreement for engagement of domestic workers by the employer through placement agency shall be in writing.

If placement agencies do not comply with the provision of the order, a penalty will be imposed or the registration/license will be cancelled to run the agency in Delhi-NCR

The Delhi Commission for Women and Child Welfare committee are given special powers and duties in virtue of the direction of Hon’ble High Court of Delhi.

Taking a strong stand against the trafficking of minors in Delhi for domestic workers and their exploitation, the order has also given power to Delhi Commission for Women and Child Welfare Committee to examine the complaints related to withholding wages not less than minimum wages, harassment or abuse by placement agencies and employers, non-compliance of the agreed terms, abusive working conditions, long working hours, lack of basic facilities etc.

State Plan of action to Combat Human Trafficking.

States have to come up with a state plan of action for the Rehabilitation of trafficking victims and preventing trafficking of children and Women. The State plan of action will focus on ensuring protection, Rehabilitation, and rescue of trafficking Victim, and providing Training, education and awareness at mass level about human Trafficking.

Providing training and skills to Domestic helps

The domestic helps working in our houses shall be treated with dignity and shall be given training for skill development. The harassment and exploitation of domestic helps can come to an end if they are provided with education and skill development training.

Give Dignity to your Domestic help.

It is very much needed that each and every person shall come forward and give respect and dignity to the domestic help. Make sure that you are not employing anyone who is below the age of 18 years. Verify the identity of your Domestic help’s. Check the registration of the placement agency with local police. Pay the salary according to the minimum wages prescribed by the government, directly to him/her in bank accounts.

Most of the domestic worker comes from the back breaking poverty background with a hope of assisting their family in financial condition. But Irony is that the amount that we pay to placement agency as advance or as salary of our domestic help never reaches them. Hence in cases a girl is rescued and restored back to her family, have the high chances of getting trapped by the traffickers again.

Shakti vahini IndiaRWAs have to come forward

Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) are playing a vital role in cities like Delhi to look into the general affairs of the locality. RWAs have to take up the command to see that no child or a woman is forced to work in its locality. RWAs shall time to time sensitize residents about the Domestic helps. They shall take the responsibility of their locality and make it a slavery free locality.

Every day, Thousands of innocent children and women are being at a risk of trafficked and forced to work as slaves in and around our houses. The number of missing children and girls is increasing day by day.

We at Shakti Vahini have been actively working in bringing the victims close to the justice.

Consultation on Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women



A one day Consultation was organised in Rohtak on the issue of Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women . Police personnels from Rohtak range including the district of Rohtak , Panipat , Sonipat and Jhajjhar attended the one day consulktation. Various stakeholders like the Child Welfare Committee, District Legal Services Authority , Child Protection Officers and Protection Officers attended the consultation organised at the DRDA Hall at Rohtak.

Inaugurating the Consultation Shri Anil Kumar Rao, IG Rohtak Range asked the Police to ensure strict compliance of various laws on women and children. He said that combatting Violence against women was a priority issue for the Police and requested all stakeholders and NGO to partner together in combatting these social malaise prevailing in the society. He also spoke on recent changes in the law especially related to sexual assault of women and children.

Ms Anita Deswal , Member State Commission for Protection of Child Rights gave a detailed presentation on various initiatives undertaken by the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Mr Satish Kumar Dy SP gave a detailed presentation on the Criminal Amendment Act 2013. He spoke on various changes to the Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Penal Code and Evidence Act.

The rape tragedy in Delhi on December 2012 was followed by the creation of the J.S. Verma Committee to look into the adequacy of legislations that afford protection to women in India. The Committee recommended inter alia an amendment to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which was first brought about vide Presidential Ordinance on February 3, 2013. The Ordinance was subsequently raised as a Bill in Parliament during the Budget Session and was passed as an Act on April 2 , 2013. The Act, known as the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, has brought about several significant changes to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973”.

IMG_5742The Amendment has made special provisions for acid attacks. Acid has been defined as any substance which has a corrosive nature; it may include bleach, bathroom and toilet acid, Harpic, etc. Under the new section 326A a person who throws or administers acid on another person and causes damage or deformity is liable for an imprisonment that is not less than ten years, and may extend to life imprisonment. Any fine that is collected under section 326A is granted to the victim for medical expenses. An attempt to throw acid upon a person is met with imprisonment of up to seven years, but not less than five years for the attacker, under section 326B

The right of private defence under section 100 extends even to the causing of the death of an attacker under certain circumstances such as an assault from which it may be clear that death or hurt are likely to follow, an assault with the intention of committing rape or satisfying unnatural lust upon a person, an assault made with the intention of kidnapping, and an assault intended for wrongful imprisonment. The Amendment has introduced a seventh category of private defence which includes an acid attack within its ambit. If a person is apprehensive of being hurt by an acid attack, that person has a right of private defence which extends to causing the death of the attacker.

A man who makes unwelcome sexual advances, forcefully shows pornography or demands/requests sexual favours from a woman commits the offence of sexual harassment simpliciter under section 354A; this is punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.

 There are also other categories of sexual harassment that have been listed as separate offences under the Amendment. If a man assaults a woman with the intent of removing her clothes or compelling her to be naked, he commits an offence under section 354B, which is punishable with imprisonment between three and seven years.

Voyeurism is the next category of sexual harassment. Voyeurism is the act of watching a person engaged in private activities. If a man watches a woman engaged in private activities, when the woman does not expect anyone to be watching, he has committed the offence of voyeurism under section 354C and is liable to be imprisoned between one and three years for the first time, and between three and seven years for subsequent convictions.

Stalking is the last offence in the category of sexual harassment. It means following a person and making or attempting to make contact for personal interaction, despite a clear disinterest being displayed by the other person. Stalking may be committed both physically and through electronic media. If a man stalks a woman, he may be punished with imprisonment of up to three years for the first time, and five years for the subsequent convictions.

IMG_5706Mr Ravi Kant President Shakti Vahini and Advocate Supreme Court gave a detailed presentation on Human Trafficking in India. He explained the recent changes in Section 370 IPC which has criminalised trafficking in persons and also prescribed stringent punishment for the offence .

While speaking on Section 370 IPC he said that While the old section 370 of IPC dealt with only buying or disposing of any person as a slave the new section will take in its purview buying or disposing of any person for various kinds of exploitation including slavery. This provision includes organ trade. As the explanation further clarifies “exploitation” would also include prostitution. This is in addition to the ITP Act, 1956. The intention of the legislature in including “other forms of sexual exploitation” and “forced labour or services” can be read to address situations where the trafficked persons are used for pornographic purposes or services like massage parlours.

The new section also ensures that persons involved at each and every stage of trafficking chain are brought within the criminal justice system. Also by specifically including that if a person is brought with his/her consent, where such consent is obtained through force, coercion, fraud, deception or under abuse of power, the same will amount to trafficking, the law has been substantially strengthened. This will cover all situations where girls who happen to be major are duped with promises of marriage and willingly accompany the traffickers who exploit them in various ways. While earlier no specific offence was made out for the mere bringing of the girl in question now that too is criminalized.  It has also been specifically added in the provision that consent of the victim is immaterial for the determination of the offence.

The new section also differentiates the instances of trafficking major persons from minor persons. This differentiation is brought about by providing separate penalty for each with higher minimum sentence for trafficking minor persons. While earlier no minimum imprisonment term was provided, now, the minimum (rigorous) imprisonment term is fixed.

IMG_5710In addition the section also provides for enhanced punishment for repeated offender as well as where the offender traffics more than one person at the same time. By providing that trafficking in minor persons on a repeated conviction will attract imprisonment for life (meaning the remaining natural life) the law has been substantially changed. This will surely act as a big deterrent. Involvement of a public servant including a police officer shall entitle him to life imprisonment which shall mean the remaining natural life.


 ‘370A. (1) Whoever, despite knowing, or having reason to believe that a child has been trafficked, employs such child in any form of labour, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than five years but w h i c h may extend to seven years, and with fine.

 (2) Whoever, despite knowing or having reason to believe that an adult has been trafficked, employs such adult for labour, shall be punished with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to five years, and  shall also be liable to fine.’

 Addition of the section 370 A further adds strength to trafficking related law by criminalizing employment of a trafficked (major/minor) person. A person who has even reason to believe or apprehension that the minor/major person employed by them has been trafficked will make them criminally liable. This places a huge responsibility on the employers who were till now, let off easily under the not so strict provisions of the child labour laws and juvenile related laws.

IMG_5702 Here also a higher minimum prison term is prescribed where a minor person is involved. Also important is the fact that irrespective of age of the person employed, simply employing a trafficked person is an offence.

This provision will go a long way in ensuring that people verify the antecedents of the placement agencies as also get the police verification of the persons employed. This will also aide in curbing the huge demand for labour who are victims of unsafe migration.

Mr Nishi Kant Executive Director, Shakti Vahini spoke about various initiatives of the Organization to combat Violence against women and children in India. He stated that Shakti Vahini is committed to strengthen the governmental responses and works very closely with various statutory agencies. He said that the organization will further organise such consultations across Haryana , West Bengal, Jharkhand ,Assam , Bihar and Delhi . He thanked all participants and the various coordinating Officers who were responsible in successfully organising the one day consultation.