Stand up against human trafficking
The three wise monkeys see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil, just like many of us
do when it comes to taboo issues such as human trafficking. We avoid looking at
the girls who are too young to be working in houses; we turn a deaf ear to
their cries and ignore stories of abuse we hear; we refrain from speaking about
human trafficking or raising questions about the suspicious activity around us.
Jharkhand is one of the states most severely affected by this problem. Villagers suffering
in poverty are easily tricked by agents who take their children away under the
false pretexts of marriage or job opportunities. The parents believe that their
daughter can provide a steady income to the family and feel relieved to have
one less mouth to feed. Little do they realise that their children, mostly
girls, are trafficked to large cities in India where they are sold off as either child brides or domestic help.
Very often, the girls are forced to work without any wages and are sexually exploited. They
have no one to turn to and may never see their families again unless they manage to escape. Many of these girls become mothers even before they reach adulthood. Lack of opportunities, illiteracy and desperation for money drag their children into the same fate.
Back to school: Parents and Community Leaders are
made aware about the importance of education and the children are enrolled in
school. Once they are enrolled the community ensures that they stay in school
and complete their education at least up to grade 8.
Earn while you learn: this is an intervention which encourages parents to enroll their children in school. The children are given a duck or a chicken or materials to start their own vegetable garden; a means for them to raise money and learn basic skills relevant to the community while they go to school. This convinces parents that sending their children to school help the child acquire skills relevant to their community as well as earn some money. This provides an alternative to Child Labour in the villages.
Computer based education: we use specially programmed software to support classroom interactions and enhance the learning process. Another intervention is to provide Computer Based Functional Literacy to adults who missed out on primary school education. They are taught how to read and write in the local language and learn basic arithmetic, making them functionally literate.
Children’s clubs and youth clubs: we have always found that the greatest influence in any community is from the members of the community. Forming children’s clubs and youth clubs where the girls can communicate with others of their age group and share their experience and fears reinforce their understanding of their rights, and ensures that they make well informed decisions concerning their futures. This also assures them that they are not alone in the fight against abuse.
Community watch-groups: these groups are formed from community members who are concerned about the future of their children. Each village will have its own community watch group. They will ensure that the all the children go to school and that they are not abused and/or trafficked by agents.
The Earn while you Learn intervention will encourage parents to send their children back to school. Once they are in school Computer based education will enhance the children’s learning experience and they will show more interest in school activities to meaningfully participate. Thus children have an opportunity to acquire good education, enabling them to prepare for a better future and preventing them from getting conned by the traffickers.
Computer based education for adults will give them basic functional literacy skills to improve their livelihood. This in turn will help pull families out of poverty and prevent them from sending their children to cities with unknown strangers.
Children’s clubs and youth clubs will help create a stronger bond amongst the children and youth, enabling them to look out for each other, and will help them learn about their rights. The groups will also be a great help in rehabilitating the girls who escaped from the traffickers. Emotional support from their peers and other victims will go a long way in rebuilding their confidence.
Community watch-groups will ensure that the community members act as guardians to the girls of their village, and prevent traffickers from approaching the girls.