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Ukhrul observes World Day ‘Trafficking in Persons’

UKHRUL | Jul 30 : FXB India Suraksha in association with ECPAT Luxembourg and British High Commission, New Delhi observed the ‘World Day against Trafficking in Persons’ at Union Baptist Church, Kamphasom, Ukhrul, Manipur.

The theme for the observation highlighted the urgent need to step up responses to the trafficking of children and young people. It was participated by around 650 people including students and teachers from 15 schools of Ukhrul Block, adolescent members of Club Against Sexual Abuse Trafficking (CASAT), government and non-governmental officials, child welfare committee, church leaders, representatives of Shelter home, Taxi Union representatives, NGOs and CVOs.

Deputy commissioner of Ukhrul, Harmit Singh Pahuja, president of Tangkhul Shanao Long, Grace Shatsang and child rights activist, Yuimi Vashum were the personalities that enlightened the participants of the programme.

The day long programme started with an opening prayer led by the pastor of the church which was followed by screening of two movies ‘Komal’ and ‘Ammu and Aman’, both addressing the issue of violence against children.

As rightly shared in his statement on observing the occasion, executive director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov said that protecting the most vulnerable among us has become ever more important, as humanitarian crises and armed conflict have left children and young people at greater risk of being trafficked. At the same time, human traffickers are misusing the internet and new technologies to broaden their reach, using apps and chat rooms to exploit and abuse young people, who represent some of our most connected and most engaged online citizens. Effective anti-trafficking responses, which take to heart the best interests of children and young people, require coordination and cooperation, he added.

He continued, “all of us have a responsibility to prevent and stop human trafficking, and protect the health, well-being and potential of all children, in line with the sustainable development goals.”

In his key note address, project officer of FXB, Wungreiso Shangh briefed the audience about the importance of the day.

The day’s programme focused at generating awareness and increasing knowledge around the issue of human trafficking and the reason why a conversation around it is important. Students from all the schools participated in slogan writing competition, essay writing competition and quiz competition. The objective for organising the competitions was not only to choose the best students but the aim was to educate and empower them with basic knowledge on human trafficking, identifying the danger signals both for themselves and their peers by means of shared knowledge and participation. Apart from that, children performed chorus, dance and skit.

The members of CASAT performed a play themed around the modus operandi of traffickers in trafficking toddlers and using them for begging. In the play, the students tried to show how a baby-sitter, a trafficking agent used to pass on the toddler to another trafficking agent to use her for begging in the absence of her parents. The play marked the need of awareness as well as people to be vigilant about the illegal activities taking place around them. The play received a round of applause from the audience for beautifully presenting it.

During the programme, FXB India Suraksha also launched a sticker with mascot Lily, messenger to combat human trafficking and child sexual abuse from the state of Manipur with the message, “Know the Signs, Identify the victim and Help” with the Helpline numbers to be put on the taxis operating in and from Ukhrul to other districts of Manipur. The sticker was launched by DC of Ukhrul and president and other union members of Ukhrul district Passenger Service Association (UDPSA), Ukhrul.

Addressing to the students, he said, “You all are very privileged to have got the opportunity to know and understand about the issue right now at your high school. The scenario was not same earlier and therefore a huge number of persons have been trafficked till now. You all along with us have to come together to combat the crime.”

Appreciating the launching of the taxi stickers, he added that this is one of the ways to reach out to maximum number of persons to aware them on the human trafficking and child sexual abuse.

Yuimi Vashum said, “The first form of abuse starts at home therefore rather than trying to change the world we first of all have to start our action from our home. Change should start from home.”

She also pointed out the need for knowledge on different laws and provisions available for people migrating outside to ensure their protection and safety.

Grace Shatsang said, “It is important to maintain migration registers in each village to keep the track of the movement of people coming and going out of the villages.”

Tangkhul Shanao Long has started a project under their own initiative to launch the maintenance of migration registers in all the villages of Ukhrul, she added.

Towards, the end of the programme, the winners of the different competitions was announced and felicitated.

Out of the 10 groups participating in the quiz competition, Ukhrul Public School took the first prize while a student from Savio School got the first prize in essay writing competition on the theme ‘Human Trafficking in the context of Tangkhul community’. Students from Oriental Naga Academy won the first prize for slogan painting competition. Apart from the first winner, second and third prizes were also given to the participants under each category.

The observation was strongly powered by MUKTI, a comprehensive community-driven intervention which was launched in 2015 and designed towards achieving goal 16, promoting peace, justice and strong institutions, SDGs. MUKTI which means ‘freedom from exploitation’ is a programme that aims at freedom from exploitation of children and women from child sexual abuse and human trafficking. Further, the programme aims to empower ethnic minority girls and women, local communities and district administration and build their capacities to effectively counter child sexual abuse and human trafficking.

Meanwhile, CHILDLINE Thoubal also observed World Day against Trafficking in Persons in the Recreation Room of SP, Thoubal.

The programme witnessed the attendance of judge of Family Court, Thoubal, Salam Imocha, superintendent of police, Thoubal, S. Goutam Singh; ex-chairperson of CWC, Chandel, Shangnaidar Tontang along with police personnel from Thoubal district, representatives and volunteers of Legal Aid Clinic, members of civil voluntary organisations (CVOs) and other stakeholders working in field of human rights protection and against human trafficking.

The interactive programme discussed elaborately on the prevailing issue of human trafficking with special reference to the context of Manipur and it’s increasing vulnerabilities. Further, the gathering also discussed on the need of not only rescuing but also counselling of the rescued persons, and awareness to the general masses.

On the prevailing situation of human trafficking, Salam Imocha pointed out the necessity of taking up both immediate measure and long term measures against such inhumane activities for a better today and healthy tomorrow.

~IFP

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