Being aware and raising alarm are key to stopping human trafficking say campaigners

4 days ago | 18-03-2017 | IBNS

Kolkata, March 18 : An awareness campaign against human trafficking was recently launched in Kolkata by the US Consulate Kolkata in collaboration with Indian non-government organisations.

The event was marked by the flagging off of a caravan, which will travel through West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, rolling into areas that are vulnerable to human trafficking, to spread the message, Be Alert, Raise Alarm, telling people how to recognise an act of human trafficking and what to do if they come across such situations.

The caravan was flagged off by US Consul General Craig Hall and Dr Sashi Panja, the state minister for Women Child Development and Social Welfare, at a function at Kolkatas EcoPark.

Others present at the function included Director of banglanatak dot com, Ananya Bhattacharya and Rishi Kant from Shakti Vahini.

The Caravan, funded by the US government, will carry officials, NGO members and diverse artists, along with an exhibition, to spread awareness against trafficking in people..

The Caravan will travel to almost 60 sports across various districts of West Bengal from March 30 to April 9.

Kolkata-based Banglanatakdotcom and Delhi-based Shakti Vahini are the Indian collaborators for the programme.

Sanlaap, Kolkata Sanved and other NGOs in collaboration with West Bengal State Child Protection Society and the West Bengal Police, who have been working on anti-human trafficking measures, also pitched in with the campaign.

Dr Sashi Panja said that trafficking can be prevented when more people are aware of the problem. She also reminded the audience, Missing children should not be accounted for in a mere diary but an FIR must be lodged.

Craig Hall said that trafficking in persons (TIP) is a transnational crime and friends and partners are needed to address and combat its issues.

The main objective of the campaign is to reach out to the young people and engage them in the action to stop human trafficking said Ananya Bhattacharya. She also discussed the main focus of the campaign in West Bengal would be on child marriage prevention and safe migration.

Various people-friendly communication tools, such as dramas, story telling, real life examples, puppet shows, patachitras, dancing, etc will be used to convey the message of anti-human trafficking, what to do when people see or hear about human trafficking, how to recognise if human trafficking is taking place, etc.

Cultural programmes themed on awareness generation was also held at the EcoPark function.

(Reporting by Shilpa Salwan)

Image: US Consulate Kolkata/Facebook