Working Together to Combat Human Trafficking, March 27-28, Ranchi, Jharkhand
The U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, will be hosting the Fourth Annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Conclave in association with the New Delhi based non-governmental organization (NGO) Shakti Vahini from March 27-28, 2015 in Ranchi, Jharkhand, India. The first two conclaves were held in Kolkata in 2012, followed by the third international conclave in Guwahati in 2013. These initiatives have served to highlight Kolkata Consulate’s commitment to serve as a key partner with regional anti-trafficking organizations in hopes of eliminating trafficking in persons world-wide.
The success of past conclaves was made possible by the close working relationships of the West Bengal and the northeastern state governments, police, business, civil society and the NGO sectors. Consulate Kolkata would now like to focus on strengthening our partnerships in the Bihar- Jharkhand region. According to data released by the Indian Social Welfare, Women and Children Development Department, trafficking in Jharkhand has increased threefold in just the past three years. Thousands of children from this region are traded and trafficked by disreputable ‘placement agencies’ to domestic homes in Delhi and other major Indian cities. Abject poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, difficult access areas, shrinking land-holdings of the local population, the thriving network of ‘placement agencies’ and, most importantly, the vulnerability of the tribal population have been cited as the main reasons for large-scale migration from Jharkhand to other areas.
TIP-4 Conclave will address enhancing coordinated efforts in addressing this problem. Our goal is to bring together NGOs, government, the business community, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, and the legal establishment to encourage increased networking, sharing of best practices and cooperation to tackle this growing menace. Our partner organization, Shakti Vahini, will work together with key stakeholders at the regional, national and international level to develop an agenda, invite local and international speakers and manage all logistics for the conference. International participants from India, Bangladesh, Nepal , Burma and the U.S., including representatives from government, law enforcement, the non-profit sector, diplomatic missions, chambers of commerce and business, as well as celebrities, who care about this issue.
- Tiffany Williams, Senior Human Trafficking and Labor Rights Specialist at Institute for Policy Studies & Coordinator, Beyond Survival Campaign delivers her keynote address at the 4th Anti-TIP Conclave.
- Human Trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery and combating it requires a comprehensive, multidisciplinary effort from various state agencies. Speakers from different state agencies discussed the state’s role in combatting human trafficking. Criminal enforcement, labor enforcement, victim outreach and services, public awareness, education, trade policy, international development and programs, immigration, intelligence, and diplomacy are some of the solutions to combat trafficking.
- Labor trafficking has become a major threat to our economy. Government officials and NGO representatives participated in an interactive discussion on issues about migrant workers employed overseas falling victim to exploitation due to their lack of awareness and knowledge about safe migration processes, labor laws and rights. The session also dealt with ways to educate migrant labors to combat human trafficking.
- Media plays an indispensable role in educating people about the many manifestations of global human trafficking, presenting the problem in human but accurate terms. Journalists from leading national and vernacular newspapers, television channels and radio highlighted how media can play a role in raising awareness about the issues and mobilizing public involvement to help prevent and combat human trafficking.
- If our societies truly want to make a difference in combating modern day slavery, the private sector must become a player in the fight. It is not just about illegal recruitment and movement of workers into forced labor, the business community must commit to empower and provide alternative employment opportunities to survivors for successful rehabilitation. Participating organizations also agreed on the need to allocate CSR budgets that would directly support anti-human trafficking advocacy projects.
- Cross Border trafficking is a major issue in South Asian countries. Participants from India and neighboring countries engaged on specific challenges faced in international repatriation between them and also shared case studies of repatriation. The session also focused on the need for greater international collaboration based on the common definition and agreed procedures for victims of cross-border human trafficking. The issue of bilateral/multilateral standard operating procedures and the urgent need for their official adoption by governments was also discussed.
- Combatting trafficking is not just for the person involved. Representatives from various NGO’s discussed how communities and local organizations can work together to prevent human trafficking. Contribution to the rehabilitation of survivors through various means, such as livelihood training, education and awareness-raising programs, village vigilance committees and local advocacy can play a key role in combatting trafficking.
- U.S. Consul General, Helen LaFave felicitates four women officers who have dedicated their lives to combat human trafficking.
- Students from National Law School, Jharkhand, St. Xavier’s College, Ranchi and Xavier Institute of Social Science had an excellent interactive session on major pressing human trafficking and human rights issues that affect them and their community. Educating and empowering youth is a key solution to combatting human trafficking.
- Regional, national and international institutions play a critical role in translating ideas from the global arena down and from local arenas up. They understand both the worlds of transnational human rights and local cultural practices and can look both ways. Representatives from PLAN, UNODC, TDH and UNICEF discussed how they can serve as knowledge brokers between culturally distinct social worlds to combat trafficking.