Matters India reporter
Sonada, Darjeeling — Students of one of the most vulnerable regions in the country for victims of human trafficking got alert on women and child trafficking by one of the leading Non Government Organisations working in the filed for over a decade.
The students of Salesian College Sonada (SCS) as well as senior students of four neighbouring high schools had a two hour workshop on ‘Women and Child Trafficking’ organised by Women Cell and Human Rights Cell of SCS, 28 July 2018.
Students from the following high schools participated: Shanti Rani, Sonada High School, St Xavier’s Dilaram and Sai Sundaram Dilaram.
Speaking to Matters India, Women Cell Coordinator and HoD English Ms Bedika Rai says, “The objective of this workshop is to spread awareness among [high] school children of Darjeeling about human trafficking in order to prevent them from being the victim. The long term objective is to spread mass awareness through these school children in their respective institutions and society.”
Women and Child Activist and the founder of Kanchanjunga Uddhar Kendra (KUK), Ms Rangu Souriya was the chief resource person.
KUK is a non-profit organization based in Siliguri, dedicated to help victims of sex trafficking.
Recipient of Godfrey Phillips National Bravery Award, 2011, and winner of 100 Women Achievers of India award from the President of India in 2016; Ms. Souriya helps to rescue girls from Darjeeling, North-East India and Nepal who have been trafficked to various cities across India and abroad.
Ms Souriya and others at KUK have rescued more than 500 girls from cities like Patna, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other regions.
“This workshop is the first part of the project “Anti-trafficking Awareness Among Women and Adolescent Girls of Tribal Communities of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri Districts,” adds one of the organisers Dr Romana Lepcha, HoD Political Science.
It is sponsored by the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia an organization founded in 1922 that supports whole person education in colleges and universities in Asia.
Speaking to a group of some 500 students, Ms Souriya explained how trafficking of women and children has emerged as a global crime where millions of women and children have been trafficked across borders and within countries every year.
“Trafficking involves the buying and selling of a person for the purpose of its exploitation,” she said.
Explaining further she says, “The various forms of trafficking are labour exploitation, forced labour, forced marriage, trafficking for adoption, forced begging, compulsion to commit criminal acts, forced prostitution or other forms of sexual exploitation, and organ trafficking.”
“Sexual exploitation is the most prominent forms of trafficking,” she revealed.
Ms Souriya insists, “Human trafficking has been an increasing concern in the whole Eastern Himalayan region and Darjeeling is no exception. Recent statistics estimates that about 500 girls are reported missing a year from Darjeeling district becoming a victim of human trafficking.”
Salesian College (SC) is run by Salesians of Don Bosco, Kolkata Province where over 1,500 students do their Arts/Humanities, Commerce, Science and Professional studies (both UG & PG) under North Bengal University.
With the Siliguri campus inaugurated on 9th July 2009, the College was accredited by NAAC with ‘A’ grade (CGPA of 3.16 out of 4) in 2012 to be one of the very first colleges to receive such grade under North Bengal University. The third cycle of NAAC re-accreditation process for the college is underway. The college has started M.A. degree program in English from 2016 and hopes to start MA in Education and Psychology from 2018. END