● 70 districts of Assam, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh were covered.
● More than 1000 high schools, colleges, institutions and 2000 bazaar/hats were visited.
● Networks with various service providers and individual volunteers were established along a route used by traffickers for trafficking girls across the Indian borders of Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh; a route which is responsible for more than 60% of human trafficking occurring in India.
● A helpline (01130010211) was launched in Assamese, Bangla, Hindi and English and shared with stakeholders to help them overcome challenges faced in trafficking cases.
EMPOWER PEOPLE has completed a historical 14000 km long March Against Bride Trafficking that began on March 25th, 2018 from Diphu of Karbi Anlong District of Assam and culminated in Shimla on 1st June, 2018; covering 70 Trafficking prone Districts of 10 States. The March was an attempt to explore protection mechanisms and creation of a network between different stake holders along the route which is responsible for more than 60% of total trafficking happening in India. A detailed report with recommendations would be submitted by the month of August, 2018 to different government agencies for effective implementation of ICPS and other schemes meant to protect women and children.
The March Crew comprising of Anti-Trafficking Activists, legal experts, psychologists and grassroots workers organized public meetings at market places and conducted seminars with students at their institutions. The crew spread awareness among the youth — one of the most vulnerable age group to trafficking — through Audio-visual presentations. Oath taking ceremonies with the slogan- “Let the girl be girl, not a bride“ were organized at every pitch stop along the way to combat the rising phenomena of child marriages and bride trafficking in the country. Training programs with social workers were organized in rural areas and civic anti-trafficking groups were created across districts in order to assist trafficking survivors.
The March against Bride Trafficking 2018 also organized district level stakeholders’ meetings to check and study gaps in the protection mechanisms and create a network of stakeholders across all 70 Districts. A stakeholder helpline was also launched to help police officers and others in the cases of trafficking. It was emphasised that the collaboration of different government bodies was crucial for addressing the problem of trafficking- ‘When these institutions will succeed in standing for each other, they will then be actually standing for the children and the vulnerable.’
The March initially was to cover 8000 kms along the planned route but with time it was observed that without meeting the victims and survivors of trafficking it wouldn’t be impactful, which pushed us to travel 14000 odd kilometres with the aim to cover far away rural and forest areas of those districts as well.” The crew has documented prevalent ill practices which hurt the spirit of a survivor and observed that repatriated victims needed to be under proper care and protection as they become more vulnerable after repatriation.
En route, the March crew enabled officials to rehabilitate 127 trafficking survivors and helped trace the families of 13 survivors living in shelter homes. Also, more than 1000 cases were identified during the course of the March.
The March received technical support from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights and was implemented by an organization EMPOWER PEOPLE, known for its work on Bride Trafficking. A detailed report with recommendations will be submitted to different government agencies for effective implementation of ICPS and other schemes meant to protect women and children.
Empower People is now planning a similar March from Jammu to Kerala with an aim to address protection mechanisms and creating a sustainable support mechanism for trafficking survivors all over the country.
Photos and daily activities can be accessed here https://www.facebook.com/empowerpeople.in/