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Anti-trafficking conclave: draft action plan formed

Bijo Francis, AHRC

The third day of The Anti Trafficking-in-Persons Conclave 3::Moving Forward Together had three engaging sessions that endeavored to discuss on the partnership of Civil Society in addressing Trafficking-in-Persons, the Role of Service Providers in addressing protection of human trafficking survivors and the experiences of the Civil Society Organizations. The conclave successfully ended with the formation of a Draft Action Plan. 

The role of Civil Society in preventing Trafficking-in-Persons is a critical approach that needs cooperation from all actors in the anti trafficking field to be able to offer their support to other actors. An engaging participation and exchange of opinions took place wherein members of several Civil Society Organizations presented their views. 

Florrie Burke, Chair Emeritus of the Freedom Network referring to the lack of trained prosecutors said that it is necessary to train and mentor more prosecutors and not back on just one team of prosecutors. Speaking on Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) Manabendra Mondol, ASTEC India said, “Stringent action must be taken for trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. There are shortages of personnel and inter departmental communication, capacity building and more AHTUs need to be formed.” 

Panelist Salma Ali, Executive Director, Bangladesh National Lawyers’ Association (BNWLA) describing Civil Society’s partnership said, “We are working on prevention and in Bangladesh a good rapport between NGOs and different Government Departments exist. Most survivors of trafficking are involved in encouraging peer education as a result.” 

Reflecting on the need of addressing prevention and policing through capacity building and trainings, Sunil Mow, Chairman & Director Athupopu Social Foundation/ HRNL suggested that NGOs as well as policing personnel must be adequately trained to combat Trafficking-in-Persons. 

Tashi Rapten Barfungpa, Director, Hope, Sikkim, presenting the role of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Sikkim said that the Juvenile Justice Act has failed. The CWC he said is sadly slightly defunct in Sikkim and all others states. Despite paper works the capacity of CWC is questionable he felt. Adding to the theme L. Pishak Singh, Secretary, Sustainable Development Centre, Manipur stressed on maximum sensitization of the government departments and civil society organizations “With 95 per cent within India, our government has failed to recognize the fact that India is a source country of trafficking,” he said. 

Distinguished panelists who brought in their valuable opinions are: Sabin Gurung, Senior Programme Officer, Maiti Nepal, Sreelekha Ray, Executive Director, Voluntary Health Association of Tripura, Doma Bhutia, Director, Human Rights Law Network, Sikkim Branch, Chenithung Humtsoe and Executive Director, Bethesda Youth Welfare Centre, Nagaland among others. The session was moderated by Deependra Chamlagain Director, Samriddhi, Nepal. 

The issues the session dealt with were those of the Civil Society Organizations networking among themselves and across the border, the necessity to collaborate with stakeholders including law enforcement agencies and experiences of processes of networking, the successes and challenges achieved as well as identifying methods how to strengthen the collaborations. 

Indrani Sinha, Director, SANLAAP, Kolkata on her take on Service Providers in addressing protection of human trafficking survivors said that survivors must be made independent and empowered with education and life skills while Salma Ali, Executive Director BNWLA stated that from rescue to rehabilitation without coordination and cooperation among Government Organizations and NGOs its impossible to mobilize. Inter agency collaboration among countries and implementation of SAARC is  of utmost importance she added. Sabin Gurung, Senior Programme Officer, Maiti, Nepal pointed out to the conclave that the most essential entity missing in the procedure of providing service to the survivors of human trafficking is the provision for more than necessary clinical examinations. The panel was moderated by Amod K. Kanth, General Secretary, Former IPS & Chairperson- Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Retired DGP. 

The conclave tried to understand and review the minimum standards necessary for Shelter Homes, the need of adequate protection of the survivors of trafficking, network management with important stakeholders and the exchange of best practices of the Civil Society Organizations. 

Conclave participants and representatives from the Apne Aap Women Worlwide, Bangla Natak, Terra Indica, the Child in Need Institute, PLAN India, UNODOC- India, Shakti Vahini, Rights Jessore and Prayas shared their inputs. 

The Anti Trafficking-in-Persons Conclave 3::Moving Forward Together Draft Action Plan 

The conclave resolved to: 

  1. Review, Revisit and Apply the Impulse and UNODC Handbook on AHTU
  2. Organize a Conference of the AHTU in Northeast India
  3. Replicate and take forward AHTU (Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Bhutan)
  4. Develop a model for Capacity Building to empower policing
  5. Codify/Document innovative methods of psychological and trauma counseling
  6. Revisit and take forward Bilateral Standard Operating Procedures
  7. Develop Standard Operating Procedures for Telephone and Video Conferencing Trials (following the Nepal-India and Bangladesh-India Test Cases)
  8. Organize a Colloquium/Conference/Workshop on Conflict & Calamities
  9. Adopt Technological Support
  10. Seek involvement of Human Rights Commissions
  11. Seek connectivity with China and Myanmar
  12. Solicit the partnership of the Corporate Sector


Author info

Syed Miraz Ahmed's picture

Writes, edits and researches. In 2013 he was conferred the Rotary International District 3240 Young Achiever Award for his work in the area of environment and digital journalism. In 2006 he was awarded first in the category of Wildlife Photography by the Department of Environment & Forests and Tourism, Government of Assam.

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