Action against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (ATSEC), largest National Network of NGOs working to combat human trafficking, organised a meeting to explore avenues for Corporate Partnership in the state capital of Jharkhand, Ranchi, on 6th and 7th August, 2008. ATSEC has 24 state level chapters all over India; the Jharkhand ATSEC has 84 affiliated NGO members, covering all the 24 districts of Jharkhand.
Jharkhand has emerged as a high risk source area for trafficking of young women and boys in recent years, due to the large scale out migration in search of livelihood options. At the same time, the availability of huge mineral and natural resource potential has made it one of the most sought after state by industries for setting up new business. This emerging industrial growth is however, juxtaposed against a largely tribal community, that has been leading a subsistence livelihood - depending on the forest reserves or limited low end agriculture. Although the coming of new industries can create many opportunities for the local population, it requires investment from the State and Private sector partners.
The opportunities for partnerships being strong in Jharkhand, Ms. Nandita Baruah, South Asia UN.GIFT coordinator, met key industrial houses and government representatives in Ranchi. This was to link the work of the ATSEC partners in Jharkhand with the work related to corporate social responsibility and to partner with the State government.
Meetings were held with the operational heads of prominent and influential business houses such as Reliance Retail Limited, Jindal Steel, Power Limited and Arcelor Mittal. The corporate houses expressed interest to partner with community groups for strengthening livelihood options, supporting education and health care to reduce risk and vulnerabilities to human trafficking in the state.
Mr. Bhanu Partap Sahi, Labor Minister, Government of Jharkhand, agreed to spearhead the process and shown interest in initiating a state level Forum for facilitating Public Private Partnership (PPP) initiatives, along the lines of the National Think Tank on PPP created by the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India.
The meeting and the issue of human trafficking was widely covered and leveraged by both print and visual media.