The 4th Annual International Conference on Apparel & Home Textiles was held on 26th & 27th September, 2008, at New Delhi. At the inaugural session of the conference, UNODC partnered with
Okhla Garment and Textile Cluster (OGTC) to highlight the need for the Garment Industry to address the issue of anti-human trafficking as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of the sector. Mr. E.V.K.S. Elangovan, Minister of State for Textiles, Government of India, was the chief guest and the guest of honour was Dr. J.N. Singh, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
Mr. R. C. Kesar, Director-OGTC, reiterated OGTC's commitment towards addressing anti-human trafficking issues in the sector and stated that they were pleased to include it in their agenda. Ms. Anju Bhalla, Deputy Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, emphasized the 'Urgency on Combating Trafficking of Women and Child'. Ms. Bhalla shared information about the 'Think Tank' on Public Private Partnerships, led by the MWCD and facilitated by UNODC, and re-affirmed the Government of India's commitment towards anti-human trafficking.
Ms. Ashita Mittal, Officer-in-Charge, UNODC,
presented the current initiatives under United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) and also spoke about the Indian Apparel and Garment industries' impact on the domestic and global economy as well as the vital role it can play in putting an end to human trafficking. She stated, "You, as the fraternity, have the power to touch the lives of over 38 million people in this country…" and "unfortunately there are times when unwittingly some of our domestic manufacturers, fabricators and exporters become part of contributing to an aspect of human trafficking that they themselves may not be aware of." Ms. Mittal encouraged the participants to adopt 'Guidelines for Monitoring Ethical Production Processes in the Garment Supply Chain' and to create awareness regarding human trafficking.