Project MUKTI in India
vendredi 1er juin 2018 à 04:00
The MUKTI (a word meaning "Freedom" in Hindi) project is the combined effort of local government and civil society organisations in the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal, Manipur and Goa to combat child sex trafficking through providing assistance to the victims and bringing its perpetrators to justice - both in the states of origin as well as in the destinations.
All partners involved in the project met recently in Darjeeling (West Bengal, India) for an annual review of their activities. ECPAT Luxembourg team in Nepal, as well as its Executive Director, were present together with their partners ARZ Goa, FXB India Suraksha, Gold, and MARG, and this newsletter is the occasion to report on the latest developments of the project.
We wrote already in a previous newsletter from last year about the project. Read it again here
The Objectives of MUKTI :
- To raise awareness to create community resiliency against child trafficking and child sexual abuse
- To understand the roots and routes of child sex trafficking in India
- To establish effective mechanisms against trafficking
- To build the capacities of service providers
- To ensure efficient coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders
- To create efficient systems and services to prevent child sex trafficking
What was achieved so far ?
In 2017 only, the achievements of the MUKTI project were outstanding, thanks to the excellent work and coordination of the different partners involved in the project.
Hence, 92 victims of trafficking were rescued from vulnerable situation of which 60 were children. 138 survivors of human trafficking were provided legal assistance for justice and 154 survivors of trafficking were rehabilitated through MUKTI response. As a result, 90 survivors were reintegrated in the society and in specific, 13 survivors received job placement support. 17 non-Indian survivors were repatriated to home country in coordination with Diplomatic mission and embassies. Nearly 100 home investigations of survivors were conducted the same year, 32 arrests of traffickers were facilitated and 19 child victims were supported for education.
Awareness activities on human trafficking, child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse were carried out in most vulnerable areas of 3 source States of North Eastern India, in which nearly 12,000 school children were reached. 1,650 key district stakeholders, 898 parents, 54 religious leaders, 220 teachers, 482 Human right community members, 30 journalists and 11 travel and tourism personnel were sensitized and trained on ways to address the issue of child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse. Further, 84 caregivers from shelter home and community based organizations were trained on child protection and 14 self-help groups were formed in different communities to prevent trafficking, identify and report abuse cases, and provide information to community.
Competency development of key State / government stakeholders in partnership with the State government were initiated to ensure improved systems at the district and State level to prevent trafficking. In specific, 443 law enforcement personnel including those involved in Anti Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU), 644 Women and child development (WCD) staffs, 156 teachers, 102 government officials including judiciary, and 47 lawyers were trained to understand and address child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse. Further, community systems in source states were strengthened through the formation of 8 anti-human trafficking clubs which are made up of students, drivers and villagers. 178 members of such clubs were sensitized and trained on how to prevent themselves from the cases of child sex trafficking and child sexual abuse.
Two main findings of the project
The information from the rescue data show that dynamics of trafficking is changing day by day – a traditional sense of a red light area with brothels where sexual exploitation is happening has changed to a non-traceable solicitation through mobile phones and the internet, where deals are made and services are provided. This has made it difficult to catch perpetrators. Moreover, MUKTI found out that even highly literate girls were trafficked. They were lured by employment opportunities and facilities, offered through network and the internet.
Although frequent strikes and political turmoil hamper smooth project implementation in source states of India, it also points the necessity for MUKTI to continue in these areas. Many young people want to move out of these source areas because of political instability and many children and young people from source areas are willing to take the chance of migrating based on luring job or training advertisements or believing dubious employment agents who promise better life in bigger cities in India. The vulnerability to child trafficking is even greater in these areas, hence our interventions are ever so important and needed.
What are the main learnings and best practices of this project ?
On top of the great achievements brought by the project, some best practices were identified during the annual review meeting. Here are some of the main ones.
- All the partners worked hard to create links and connections with the authorities of the places, regions and States where they were working. They developed advocacy activities with these authorities which were and are of tremendous importance for the success of the project. Indeed, it is only when the project’s problematic are high on the political agenda that they can be treated and fought.
- As a result, all our partners are well recognized by the authorities and then by the other organizations as well and a real dynamic is hence created.
- All our partners have a first hand experience of child protection. They hence know directly what are the issues and problems that the children are facing. They also know directly what are the trends and new tricks in the trafficking sector. To sum this point up, they are experts on these issues.
- All our partners are very vigilant on the protection of children, not only inside their own organizations but also in their environment. As such, they are lighthouses for the protection of children in their communities.
- The clubs created by the different partners are of tremendous importance in the vigilance net created to protect the children. For example, the students against trafficking clubs are playing a major role in their communities : they protect their members, but they also protect other students and youth. And finally, they will create adults with a strong child protection mindset.
- The collaboration between the MUKTI partners is outstanding and has to be recognized in the success of the project. Hence, our partners are organizing training sessions, they are collaborating on cases, they meet regularly and are working together. This is a real good practice.
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The team of ECPAT Luxembourg