Caravan ‘Swaraksha’ for awareness on human trafficking

Bhubaneswar:’Swaraksha’, a community awakening caravan launched as a joint project of the US Consulate General in Hyderabad and anti-trafficking outfit ‘Prajwala’, is all set to roll into Odisha to spread counter-trafficking campaign.

Swaraksha was launched on January 9 from Hyderabad and will travel 53 districts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha targeting 132 million people, Sunitha Krishnan, founder of Hyderabad-based Prajwala, told reporters here today.

The campaign aims at awakening the communities on the dangers of human trafficking, motivating communities to protect themselves and giving them the tools to say “no” to traffickers.

The caravan, which is scheduled to reach Odisha on March 18 and will travel through all its 30 districts, will also address men and boys to target the demand for commercial sexual exploitation.

Government of Odisha, Catholic Relief Services and Kalinga Institute of Social Science (KISS) are the lead partners to support the caravan, Krishnan said adding the campaign plans to cover the entire country in future.

Prajwala activists, accompanied by survivors of trafficking are travelling in the caravan.

A series of programmes are being conducted every day.

Documentary films on trafficking are screened and debates are held to alert communities on how the network of human smugglers operate and the modus operandi they have adopted to trap boys and girls to lure them in the name of employment, marriage, love, film roles or for a better life, she said.

During the campaign, Prajwala teams establish a network of community vigilant groups and train them to spot and report trafficking across the three states, so that communities are equipped to counter the attempts of trafficking, she added.

Informing about the activity going on in KISS, Dr Achyuta Samanta, founder of KIIT and KISS said the institute has been campaigning against human trafficking and sexual harassment against children through education imparted to 25,000 tribal students.

The students of KISS also educated their community against human trafficking, when they go to their villages during vacations, he said.

On state government’s participation in ‘Swaraksha’, Subhra Mohanty, Deputy Director, Women and Child Development Department and Dr Amrita Patel, Gender Advisor and Coordinator, Swaraksha said Odisha government is fully supporting this campaign.

Women and Child Development and Home Department are involved in this programme. All the district collectors of 30 districts are instructed to do the needful for success of the campaign, they said.