National Commission for Women (NCW) and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) held a one-day seminar on anti-human trafficking on 25 June 2022. The one-day awareness session talked about human trafficking, concepts, patterns, existing response systems, and the psychosocial impact of trafficking, as well as how civil society organizations can help.
Ms Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of NCW, and Shri Balaji Srivastava, Director General, BPR&D, presided. The Commission invited Shri PM Nair, EX-DG, NDRF and Ex-Chair Professor, TISS, Shri Veerendra Mishra, AIG, SISF, Madhya Pradesh Police, Dr Shekhar P. Seshadri, Former Dean, Behavioural Sciences Division & Former Director, NIMHANS and Hasina Kharbhih, Founder, Impulse NGO Network as resource persons. Chairperson Rekha Sharma stressed on the importance of preventing human trafficking at source for effective combat. “We have to focus on prevention of trafficking. NCW has set up its own Anti-Human Trafficking Cell and this is just the beginning. Through today’s seminar, we all have to find the way forward in promoting awareness around human trafficking and its effective combat,” she said.
Shri Balaji Srivastava said that BPR&D has been organizing many seminars and capacity building workshops on different topics such as cybercrime, women security and this collaborative effort with NCW would go a long way in promoting awareness around human trafficking.
The seminar was divided into four technical sessions; ‘Introduction: Concept, Patterns and Existing Response Systems of Human Trafficking’, ‘Different Dimensions of Human Trafficking’, ‘Psycho Sociological Impact of Trafficking’ and ‘Role of NGOs in Rescue, Post Rescue Care and Rehabilitation’.
In the technical session on ‘‘Introduction: Concept, Patterns and Existing Response Systems of Human Trafficking’, Shri PM Nair stressed on creating a synergy between enforcement agencies, Police and NGOs for combating human trafficking and to take forward the movement to youth and panchayat level for effective prevention. “Setting up AHTC is easy but handholding is necessary. Empowering youth, panchayats, NGOs against human trafficking will help in making a difference. Spot it, speak it, do it, stop it,” said Shri Nair.
Shri Veerendra Mishra focused on 4Ps for combating human trafficking, Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Participation and the role of criminal justice system and social justice system in trafficking. “Trafficking is exploitation of vulnerability and addressing the causes of vulnerability is important to prevent human trafficking,” in the session on ‘Different Dimensions of Human Trafficking’.
Dr Seshadri, while speaking in the session on ‘Psycho Sociological Impact of Trafficking’, highlighted that many a times family is not the best place for a victim, and it is unjust and cruel to send back a person to the same place she was trafficked from. Stressing on the importance of identifying the right kind of counselling for survivors, he said, “we must understand that instruction, advice, counselling and therapy are not the same”.
In the last technical session on ‘Role of NGOs in Rescue, Post Rescue Care and Rehabilitation’, Ms Hasina Kharbih spoke on the reintegration of rescued survivors of trafficking back into the society. “Everyone does not want to do stitching or sewing. That is not rehabilitation. We have to understand the aspirations of rescued survivors and take these aspirations into consideration. A PPP model in collaboration with government, NGOs and CSR participation can help in successful rehabilitation and empowerment of these women”, Ms Kharbhih said.
The technical sessions were followed by a detailed Open House discussions and the resource persons suggested the way forward for combating human trafficking. Some of the important suggestions made by the experts were that every State Commission for Women must have an Anti-Human Trafficking Cell of its own, a template/SOP for all the organizations to follow in cases of human trafficking, joint training of all the stakeholders, setting up Anti-human trafficking cells in colleges and educational institutes. provisions available in legal system including schemes and compensation should be known to everyone in the panchayat level, among other suggestions.
The participants comprised of State Women Commissions, WCD departments of States/UTs, senior police officials, senior officials from paramilitary forces, government organizations, National Commissions, Administrative, Judiciary and Police Training Institutes, Non-Governmental Organizations, Directors of Medical Institutions, and Universities/Colleges, among others.