Representatives from NGO partners of the ATSEC Network
1 in 26 Indian states assembled at the India International Centre, New Delhi on 26 July 2007 to deliberate on issues of cross border trafficking, repatriation of survivors of trafficking and the role of ATSEC in South Asia. This meeting, which was organized by UNODC, also brought together representatives from the ATSEC country chapters in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. This meet will be followed by a three-day training programme for ATSEC members as well as evaluators from social work departments for a study of homes for women in distress in select states in the country. A strategic partnership with the Government of India (through the Ministry of Women and Child Development) by way of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is also in the offing.
Mr. Gary Lewis, Representative, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia was the Chief Guest at the occasion. The welcome address was delivered by
Mr. Manabendra Mandal, National Coordinator, ATSEC India. Mr. Ajit Joy, Project Coordinator, Victim Support and Human Trafficking, UNODC, Ms. Mamta Kohli, USAID and Ms. Archana Tamang, UNIFEM were also present at the meeting.
The occasion marked the unveiling of the report titled
"Building Positive Partnership. Interfaith leaders against violence on women and children especially trafficking". A joint initiative of UNIFEM and ATSEC India, the report encapsulates the outcomes and proceedings of the national level meeting of interfaith leaders that was organized in Darjeeling in 2006.
The meet featured special talks by experts on a wide range of subjects central to the theme of anti-human trafficking: "Situation Analysis of Trafficking In India" by Mr. Sankar Sen, I.P.S. (Retd.), Sr. Fellow, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi(I.P.S.); "Care and Support" of survivors of human trafficking by Dr. Achal Bhagat, SAARTHAK; the "Law enforcement response to human trafficking" by Dr. P.M. Nair (I.P.S.), Consultant, Anti-Human Trafficking, UNODC, "Rights-based approach to trafficking" by Ms. Archana Tamang of UNIFEM. A special talk, on the emerging issue of "Smuggling of Migrants" was delivered by Mr. K.C. Saha (I.A.S.), Consultant, UNODC.
The meeting was organized under UNODC's victim support project, which aims at, inter alia, "Building the capacity of and expanding anti-human trafficking networks for improved support to victims of human trafficking". The project aims to provide greater assistance to trafficking victims in close coordination with national and regional NGO networks especially the ATSEC. The objectives are five-fold: Improved victim care in government and NGO run homes, capacity of NGOs, including the ATSEC network, strengthened, ATSEC networks expanded and linked to other national and regional networks, NGOs in remote areas supported and institutional capacity of care providing institutions strengthened. Building of governmental victim support facilities with the aim of securing the legal and human rights of the victims of trafficking being a key component, the UNODC project will be working to build the capacity of six homes in six states in India to establish them as model homes. The study of women's homes mentioned above is a key component of the project.
1 : The Alliance against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (ATSEC) is a network of over 541 NGOs operating mainly in India but also having chapters in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. ATSEC-India, through its 26 State Chapters, implements different programmes to prevent human trafficking. Different states have their respective technical expertise in different sectors to combat trafficking. ATSEC, with the support of government and non-government organizations implements programmes in the field of Prevention, Rescue, Rehabilitation, Restoration back to families and Repatriation.
2 : Recognizing the significance of the role of interfaith leaders in the community, especially their role as agents of change, UNIFEM in collaboration with ATSEC Bihar, facilitated the formation of the 'Inter Religious Priests' Forum (IRPF) to address issues of violence against women, trafficking and gender inequality. The IRPF members have been using their respective spaces and constituencies to advocate against gender discrimination and acting as vigilante groups to address them.
IRPF National Office 30B, Patuliputra Colony,
Patna - 800013, Bihar, India.