The Nedan Foundation, a Kokrajhar based NGO has been pioneer in combating cross-border human trafficking in the North East region and has been continuously advocating for building regional collaboration on the issues in North East with South Asia. Strengtheningen strong collaboration and develop multi-sectoral partnership through networking and advocacy, Nedan organized a North East region's consultation on Thursday at Central Institute of Technology (C.I.T) in Kokrajhar, Bodoland Territorial Council to further strengthen the North East Region partnership in combating human trafficking and to initiate a process of joint learning, collaboration, identification of good practices and replication of initiatives to combat human trafficking in the state of Assam.
The consultation was inaugurated by lightning of the lamp by Madhav Prasad Sarma, Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar in the presence of S.P. Saikia , Superintendent of Police- Kokrajhar, A.K.C. Singh, Commandant of 16th Battalion- SSB.
DigambarNarzary, Chairperson of Nedan Foundation put forward the objective of the one day consultation and the idea of providingtimely justice, time framed for repatriating the survivors of human trafficking. Narzary stated that every year bunch of children is being repatriated from Mumbai, Haryana, Chennai and other parts of India. Assam has the highest number of missing children.
Sarma, Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar stated that the scenario of human trafficking is at an alarming rate where it can be seen that 70 % of the victims are girls and women. Flood related displacement; conflict related displacement and poverty are seen as the main reason for increased rate of human trafficking. Above all ignorance of such circumstances also leads to trafficking. In order to curb such menace, the Deputy Commissioner emphasized on cooperating with the concerned departments working on protection of children and women because it is only possible through the joint effort from various concerned departments to prevent the modern slavery and thus build a trafficking free society.
S.P. Saikia, Superintendent of Police of Kokrajhar appreciated Nedan Foundation for organizing North East level consultation and had pledged to fight against human trafficking and child labor. In his speech, Saikia stated that he would closely coordinate and support NEDAN in working towards combatting human trafficking.
The study done by UNODC highlighted Assam as the 2nd highest trafficking zone. Of the four BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Council) districts of Assam three districts namely Kokrajhar, Baksa and Chirang also have the large number of trafficking cases in the present scenario. Kokrajhar is one of the trafficking hubs known as 6th highest trafficking zone of Assam where highest no. of trafficking takes place. The recent cases of 60 children still sheltering at the registered homes in West Bengal hailing from the different districts of Assam including children from Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Udalguri and Baksa indicates the grim situation of trafficking in the region. The children are in the urgent need of restoration.
In order to intervene the alarming rate of trafficking in the North East region, NEDAN Foundation along with the participants of the North East Network Forum Against Trafficking (NENFAT) have discussed on creating a logical model on rescue, repatriation and re-integration of the human trafficking survivors and drafting of an inter-state Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on rescue, repatriation and re-integration will based on the feedback taken from the participants. The drafting of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)/Guidelines is important in order to build a positive partnership to carry out the plan of action in a sensitive and professional manner. The SOP is therefore expected to serve as a guideline to address the common concerns with all the stakeholders for raid, rescue and repatriation of the survivors of human trafficking. The purpose of drafting an inter-state SOP is to stimulate a process of discussion and development among government officials, uniform personnel's, Civil Society Organizations and supporting partners that will lead towards the adoption of uniform minimum standards and guidelines for the inter-state partner organizations, stakeholders/institutions that work on rescue, repatriation with survivors of human trafficking.
The one day consultation have convened more than 40 key stakeholders comprising of core members of North East Network Forum Against Trafficking (NENFAT), government officials and uniform personnel's from the state of Assam and indeed was a successful consultation which ended with a good note.