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.



TCU partners with Shakti Vahini to help end human trafficking


A discussion on local and global human trafficking will be held on campus Thursday, in hopes of encouraging TCU students to help with the cause.

The Frogs for Freedom have teamed up with an anti-human trafficking organization Traffic911 from north Texas as well as the Indian anti-trafficking organization Shakti Vahini to host TCU’s first “Night to Fight Human Trafficking” event.

The event will start with a lecture from Subir Roy, the director of programs and projects of Shakti Vahini, in the Dee J. Kelly Alumni & Visitors Center at 5:30 p.m., followed by the premier of the documentary “In Plain Sight” at 7 p.m. in the Brown-Lupton University Union Ballroom.

The event will be free to students with their IDs. However, they will be asked to donate $5 to Traffic911. Tickets for non-students are $10. All of the proceeds will go to Traffic911.

These organizations said they strive to show that human trafficking is an issue all over the world, including the United States.

“Human trafficking is such an issue and it is a problem everywhere, not just in India,” Roy said. “Students should understand how human trafficking takes place, which countries are more prone [to it] and why.”

Roy said he wants to build a stronger partnership with TCU in hopes of bringing more students to India to work with Shakti Vahini.

With TCU Study Abroad: Human Trafficking in India, students can work with anti-trafficking, non-government associations such as Shakti Vahini for two weeks during the summer.

“Seeing how Shakti Vahini works was inspiring. They do so much with so little, despite facing opposition at seemingly every turn,” said junior Josh Blankenship, who went on the trip. “Much of their success, I think, is owed to Subir Roy and the rest of their staff’s creativity and diligence.”

Students can receive three or six credit hours for this trip.

Ultimately through TCU’s Global Citizenship Initiative, which involves having global speakers come to campus, the organizations hope to bring more awareness to human exploitation.

With this awareness, these organizations want to encourage TCU students to be part of the effort for change.

“When there’s a social issue that needs addressing, historically speaking, it begins on campuses,” said Dr. Vanessa Bouché, assistant professor in TCU’s political science department and an organizer for this event. “That’s where passion begins, and then it bubbles over to society.”

Bouché wants students to become passionate about this particular social issue.

“Human exploitation is arguably the human rights issue of the 21st century,” Bouché said. “At a very minimum, we need to be thinking critically about these issues.”

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.

Civil Society and NGOs Partnership Required Combat Human Trafficking


Shakti Vahini 14 WBShakti Vahini in collaboration with South Dinajpur District Police has organized a District level Police Training programme on Anti Human Trafficking and Missing Children Alert on July 2, 2014.

The programme was inaugurated by the Superintendent of Police Mr. Sheesh Ram Jhajhariea. During his inaugural speech the SP expressed his concern about the cross border trafficking issues. He said that a major portion of the district is bordering with the neighboring country Bangladesh. The police in the district have been coming across trafficking cases from Bangladesh. He told that all police officers especially the Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the district should be well equipped with the guidelines on how to handle these cases. According to him the North Bengal area is also prone to the trafficking for domestic maids in the cities like Delhi, Bombay. A stressed on strengthening the NGO police partnership in combating the human trafficking cases in a organized manner.

Inspector (Ms.) Sarvari Bhattachajee from the AHTU Nodal office West Bengal, CID Bhawani Bhawan took a long session on Investigation of Human Trafficking cases. Citing some recent cases handled by her as per the direction of the Kolkata High Court she did a detail demonstration on how to investigate the cases of human trafficking. She discussed various pros nd cons of the investigation like not to assume anything about the case, seizing of documents on the spot during raids, victim and trafficker should be immediately separated once rescued, linking source and destination, collect evidences as more as possible. She also said that a trafficking victim from foreign should not be treated under section 14 of foreigners act rather should be treated as a victim under 363 and 370 acts.

The Chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, Dakshin Dinajpur in spite of sharing the role of Child Welfare Committee and Police partnership also shared many challenges. He said that the district immediately should start at least one children home for girls and boys each. According to him the district is also prone to the trafficking of children for the construction work in the big cities.

Throwing light on the definition of trafficking, Mr. Nishi Kant from Shakti Vahini said that it is an organised crime. He suggested the police officer to correlate the cases of trafficking with the definition given under section 370 of IPC. He also discussed why young children and girls are being trafficked. He said that trafficked victims are sold off into prostitution, forced marriages, sexual abuses, Domestic Servitude, forced labour, bonded labour, pornography, organ trade etc. He also emphasised on various Standard Operating Procedures, Guidelines, Advisories of the Govt. of India for the women and children especially the recent order of the Supreme Court regarding the mandatory registration of FIR on missing children cases.

The Coordinator of the CHILDLINE, a Ministry of Women and Child Development programme of Govt. of India also took a session on the Role of CHILDLINE (1098) in child protection.

Shakti Vahini 16 WB

Shakti Vahini wb 12

Women Rights are Human Rights-International Women Day in Siliguri

siliguri 14On the eve of International Women’s day Shakti Vahini, a national level anti Trafficking Organization has organized a Meeting on Women Empowerment with the Anganwadi Workers of Matigara, Kharibari, Naxalbari and Phansidewa block of Siliguri Sub Division. The programme was organized in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, West Bengal.

The programme was organised as part of the Anti Trafficking and Justice Project which is supported by European Union.

The programme highlighted on the issues of “gender violence” and various “crimes against women” taking place in India with special emphasis on the scenario of West Bengal including the heinous crimes like women and child trafficking.

The programme was attended by the dignitaries from various departSiliguri 2 - Copy (2)ments like District Administration, faculties of Siliguri College.

The discussions were held on the issue of “gender violence” and how since the conception of a girl child, she has to face atrocities and adverse situations.

Even though, by any means she is able to survive and see the light o the world, she is discriminated in all aspects including health, education, dressing patterns and all other aspects of her life. It was commented by Ms. Vidhapathi Agarwal, Teacher, Political Science, Siliguri College that since birth of a child she bears the surname of her father before marriage and after marriage, she bears the surname of her husband. So, at every phase of her life she faces, “identity crisis”. Apart from that it was mentioned that not only within the family she faces crisis, but in the outside world too, she faces adverse and crisis situations where her respect and dignity is at stake. In this regard, it was mentioned that issues of “rape” and “sexual violence” is at rise in the country where everyday such cases are reported. Other than that cases of “dowry” and “wife battering” are regular phenomena in the country.

Siliguri 9 - CopyLight were also thrown on the issues of human trafficking with special focus on “women and child” trafficking where girls and women are being trafficked for various reasons from the districts of North Bengal, mostly for domestic help, forced marriage and commercial sexual exploitation and Shakti Vahini working in the field of anti-human trafficking and women rights is combating these social evils both in the source and at the destination areas.

Shri. Savari Rajkumar, ADCP, Siliguri Commissionerate mentioned that Siliguri is considered to be a “corridor” in regard to human trafficking connecting the Dooars region of North Bengal with the destination areas of Delhi and other bigger cities. He also discussed that women issues are much highlighted issues where special emphasis and concern is needed. He also mentioned that for ensuring women rights, Women Police Station is there where issues related to women are dealt.

Mr. Nishikant, Executive Director, Shakti Vahini also discussed thoroughly on the issues of human trafficking and how trafficking takes place which takes place in a channel system. Other discussions were also held on law related aspects covering the “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005” and its intricate details.

The discussion was accelerated with the videos shown on violence against women, human trafficking and a newly introduced scheme by the Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. Of West Bengal for addressing the issues of girl child’s education, child marriage and trafficking- Kanyashree.

Siliguri 7


Siliguri 3 - Copy

Media Consultation on Anti Human Trafficking and Violence Against Women organised

IMG_6336A National Media Consultation on Anti Human Trafficking and Violence against Women was organized in the Indian Habitat Centre, New Delhi by Shakti Vahini on January 23, 2014. the programme was supported by Vital Voices Global Partnership. Altogether 60 participants including journalists from Delhi, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal, Government Officers from Ministry of Women and Child Development, GoI,  NCPCR, Department of Social Welfare, Govt. of West Bengal, representatives from UNODC, European Union, UNDP, PLAN India and Legal Professionals participated the programme.

The programme showcased the panel discussion on Initiatives to Combat Human Trafficking, Violence against women and how to combat it, Missing Children, Guidelines on Media Reporting, Media Initiatives in combating Trafficking, Right based Reporting on Violence against women and Human Trafficking. Experts from the respective field shared their opinions and experiences on the respective issues.

While considering the Trafficking of Women and Children for various purposes as a serious concern the Joint Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Women and Child Development Mrs. Sharmistha Das said that her department is willing to work with the NGOs of the destinations and would like to connect all the survivors belong to West Bengal with various government schemes like kannyasree for their rehabilitation.

Dr. Madhvi from the National Mission for Empowerment of Women, Govt. of India dwelt at length about the initiatives undertaken by the mission, which is a pilot project on behalf of the Government of India. She stressed that in issues related to inter-Ministerial collaborations the NMEW can play a bring role by bringing together all stakeholders.She said all the stakeholders should work for the social development as a mission rather than a project.

IMG_6355Ms. Vartika Nanda, Assistant Professor, Department of Journalism, Lady Shri Ram College and a senior journalist stressed on the right based reporting by media especially on the issue related to women and children by showcasing a self directed documentary named “Mein thi, Mein Hun, Mein Rahungi (I was, I am and I will be)”.

Ms. Silvia Costantini, First Counsellor-Political Affairs, European Union Delegation to India,  briefed the various initiatives undertaken by the European Union to combat Human Trafficking across the world.

Christina Albertin, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia, talked about the aims and objective as well as the functioning of UNODC to combat Human Trafficking. According to her, poverty is never the root cause of Human Trafficking but it involves a profit making intention in the mind of the criminal. She also told that the consent of the victim has no significance in case of trafficking if the accused has used him/her with the thought of crime and profit through her. As Human Trafficking is a heinous crime and  , she requested the present media representatives to be very careful in highlighting case studies of victims so that re-victimization of the victim does not takes place by publishing of any of his/her personal details or photographs.

Dr. Roma Debabrata, President, STOP argued that role of media is very important as it becomes the medium to reach people at large. So, the duty of media while handling trafficking cases is not to take up it as an a story only but the rights of the victims are to be taken care of at its best. Citing a recent case of child trafficking for domestic maid the senior journalist of the Times of India explained the role various stakeholders and the role of media as well.

Mr. Debashish Boral, IPS, West Bengal Police, suggested that the Anti Human Trafficking Unit should not only involve police officials but also members of other organization too such as NGO, media etc. so that special attention could be provided to such cases. According to him media should not only highlight the arrest of the accused but also keep a track on the case i.e follow-up the case well to make people aware of it.

IMG_6171Ms. Swasti Rana, PO, Anti Human Trafficking UNODC invited the positive approach of the Media representatives in taking up trafficking issues and holding a position as a medium in reporting them to the general public. According to her sensitization in bordering areas is very necessary to combat the problem.

 Mr. Satyajit Ghosh, PLAN India talked about the initiative undertaken by PLAN on Missing Child Alert Project involving three NGOs in working on the issue of Missing Children covering the districts as well as bordering areas of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh as well as bordering countries Bangladesh and Nepal.

Mr. Vinod Kumar Tikko, Former Member of NCPCR, referring HT as a very sensitive issue argued that the role of media is very important in society and therefore it is necessary for the reporters to remain sensitized in dealing with cases of HT. According to him media needs to  report such cases with utmost care so that the survivors of HT do not undergo stigmatization.

Ms. Nirmala Nayar, MTV EXIT,  talked about the Campaign Change behaviour an initiative of the  television channel MTV to combat human trafficking. According to her, the campaign involves two formats- short and long- National level MTV India and State level MTV India. The National Level Campaign would be a TV series showcasing real life cases of trafficked survivors and the State level Campaign would involve the districts of Bihar where awareness programs would be held in each districts and materials would be distributed in those areas so that much of the audiences could be reached and sensitized.

The journalists present in the programme recommended that such type of consultation needs to be organized with the editors of the media houses as they are decision makers for the prominent coverage of the particular news.

IMG_6265Kishlaya Bhattacharjee, Senior Journalist cum Editor said, “There should be the issue based reporting and the young group of journalist should take the responsibility.” He added, “Such type of consultation needs to be organized with the editors of the media houses as they are decision makers for the prominent coverage of the particular news which is very important for the mobilizing the people and the government as well.”

Siddharth Pandey, Senior Journalist, NDTV 24X7 focused on the research based journalism during his speech. He said, “The journalists should use Right to Information Act as tool for data collection and accordingly build the story. The journalism should be fact based and with the availability of the relevant data. The data released by the parliamentarians and NCRB is a good source for the development stories. The journalist can also follow up the stories with the NGOs involved.”

Pramod Kumar Suman, the Senior Journalist, The Kalinga Times said, “the cases of trafficking and violence against women need to be followed up on a regular basis. The journalist should do the ground work before filing a story.” He adds, “Sensitization programme on right based reporting should be organized periodically for stringers.”

Sanjay Mishra, Editor, Prabhat Khabar Jharkhand & Bihar said, “The vernacular newspapers is an important media to sensitize the masses. There should be particular edition on women and children to carry the ground realities and the various government schemes available for the women and children. As an example he cited a tabloid newspaper panchayatnama which has been playing an active role in sensitizing the rural women. He said that we have to fight the demands of commercial media and stick to Rights Based reportings.

Mr. Devesh Pandey, Senior Journalist, The Hindu said, “The case of human trafficking should be investigated in an organized way. The role of the middle men needs to be investigated.” He adds, “Media’s role is to either publish and air the story and hence sensitize the people and the rest is to be done by the involvement of all the stakeholders.”

Ashis Gupta, Bureau Chief, The Pratidin said, “NGOs and all stakeholders need to involve media persons across source transit and destination areas”.We need to follow up all cases of Human Trafficking and ensure that victims who are being repatriated are provided Governmental Support as mandated by the law.

IMG_6200Pankaj Sharma, Senior Journalist, The Telegraph, Guwahati said, “The cases of human trafficking and violence against women is rising in the North eastern region. It is the right time that media should take the issue seriously in sensitizing the masses.”

Anwesha, Journalist, Eisamay said, “West Bengal  is highly vulnerable to human trafficking as a source as well as destination. Many cases of rape have recently been reported in West Bengal. Media should focus on why the young girls are being traffickjed from the state and also the root of poverty of the people which is also responsible for the trafficking of women and children.”

Mr. Ravi Kant, President of Shakti Vahini announced that Shakti Vahini will soon start programme on “Fellowships for Journalists” from the vulnerable states like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Assam. He also discussed the Guidelines issued by the Delhi High Court in WP(Civil) No 787 of 2012 which has approved Media Guidelines for children. He also discussed  the recent Criminal Ammendment Act (2013) which criminalises anyone disclosing the name of the rape victim.

The One Day Consultation has come up with various recommendation as to how media and other stakeholders can join hands to combat violence against women and children.