Written By:Advaitha Reddy, First Year, St. Francis College for Women, Begumpet
We have seen and heard cases of Human trafficking all around us ranging from movies to books to news. Trafficking is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad. Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims. The state of West Bengal reports more human trafficking than any other in India: the highest number of persons trafficked 28%, the most cases reported 44% and the highest crime rate, 3.81 human trafficking cases reported per 100,000 population. Three in five or 9034 of 15379 persons trafficked in 2016 were children below the age of 18, and of these 54% were girls and the rest were boys. The major purpose of human trafficking in 2016 was forced labor (45%), followed by exploitation for prostitution (22%) based on the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data. It is however not possible to accurately estimate the statistics of the phenomenon as trafficking is closely related to child labor, child marriage, kidnapping, prostitution, etc. as they can exist independently.
There are some organizations working on the issue of sex trafficking and sex crimes. One important organization is Prajwala. Prajwala was established in the year 1996 in South India by Sunitha Krishnan and Brother Jose Vetticatil and it works on the five main pillars Prevention, Protection, Rescue, Rehabilitation and Reintegration. Out of its 200 employees, 70% of them are survivors themselves. The organization’s transitions centers in Hyderabad function as schools that not only foster the overall development of children but also help them improve psychosocial and scholastic skills to ensure a bright future and can get them out of poverty. Initially, Prajwala had unfortunate experiences with the police who weren’t on board and therefore they worked independently without the police cooperation. However, when a member of the team—an ex-procurer—was brutally murdered in 1999, Prajwala began collaborating with law enforcement officials to conduct joint rescue operations.
Some of Prajwala’s Milestones include:
1. In 2019, Victim-centered investigation became a part of the curriculum in the Police Academy and Judicial Academy and Trauma-informed approaches have become a part of Home management.
2. In 2018, A team of 30 survivors trained as carpenters and welders went to Kerala for a period of 1 month and re-constructed 250 houses, community hall, and schools.
3. In 2017,Over 100 Survivors deliberated on the comprehensive Anti-Trafficking Bill to be proposed to Government of India as a part of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.
4. In 2016, Launched Swaraksha a community awakening caravan to counter trafficking in three states of Telangana, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh.
5. In 2014, 11th transition center started at Malakpet, Hyderabad. Similarly, many Transition Centre’s have been set up in different places over the decade.
6. In 2010, Launched 200 Girl Child Empowerment Clubs/Balika Sadhikara Sangams in government schools.
Since being established Prajwala has accomplished a lot and is continuing to do so. Alongside, many other organizations are set up towards the same goal, in hope to reduce the rate of trafficking.