14 September 2009 - Trafficking in persons, a crime that has gained visibility in recent years as a major violation of human rights, is a priority concern for UNODC. Given that in India and elsewhere poverty is one of the main factors leading to human trafficking, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia has initiated a pilot training course for a group of vulnerable young people in India.
Thirty young men and women aged 22-25, the children of sex workers, were recently trained in tailoring at the Apparel and Export Promotion Council (AEPC) training centre. The course has been organized in conjunction with the Government of India's Ministry for Women and Child Development.
AEPC is a group of nearly 8,000 garment and textile exporters who have taken on human trafficking as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts.
The participants were provided sewing machines similar to those used in mainstream apparel factories to help them develop skills in line with the market demand. Close supervision by production experts ensured that participants learned rapidly on the job. A whole range of skills - production, plant and machinery maintenance and marketing - was integrated into the system, ensuring that everyone would be trained in all stages and aspects of tailoring, thus increasing their chances of future employment in the apparel industry.
Proudly demonstrating her new sewing skills on a piece of pink cloth, 24-year-old Laxmi, one of the participants in the project, said, "After joining this training course, I feel confident and empowered. Confident because now I can earn well by joining a garment factory and empowered because I have an identity. I can now take decisions at home as I will earn a salary and I can secure a stable future for my children."
At the end of the course, participants were awarded certificates by Cristina Albertín, UNODC Representative for South Asia. The awards ceremony was a significant moment for the young men and women who walked down the aisle to receive their certificates, symbols of hope, ability and identity; and eventually, financial independence.
The initiative also contributes to the objective of the Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking ( UN.GIFT) to eradicate human trafficking by reducing both the vulnerability of potential victims and the demand for exploitation in all its forms.
UNODC recognizes that efforts against human trafficking cannot be undertaken by Member States alone and that multilateral, participative approaches involving all stakeholders are needed.
Full text on the website of the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia