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Seminar on human trafficking

DC Dimapur, Maongwati Aier addressing journalists at the seminar at Hotel Saramati, Dimapur, Monday. (NP)
Staff Reporter DIMAPUR, Oct 5 (NPN):
Published on 6 Oct. 2009 12:18 AM IST
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Impulse NGO network, Shillong in partnership with Bethesda youth welfare centre, Community Education Centre (CEC) society, supported by UNIFEM along with media partner Nagaland Post began the two- day capacity building programme for journalists on their role in addressing human trafficking issues on Monday at Hotel Sarmati. DC Dimapur Maongwati Aier who was chief guest ,said child trafficking in the state has become a matter of serious concern, as children from Mon and Tuensang districts including Assam were sold for as much as Rs.3000 to various homes in Dimapur. Asserting that it was imperative for the media to play a role in addressing the issue, he said the rights and laws pertaining to child trafficking and labor should be highlighted to the masses. Mr Aier also disclosed that the district administration with SP Dimapur and few other members, have established ‘New Path’ a home for rehabilitation at Assisi Centre where some 60 women rescued from the flesh trade were given education and training. Of these five of them have passed HSLC and are now pursuing higher education, he said. He also said that under the National Child Labor scheme, 11 schools were established in Dimapur district where 50 children rescued from child labour and trafficking and were being looked after. Under the scheme, the children were provided vocational training, free education to further help in curbing the vicious circle of trafficking. Maongwati further called upon the media to educate the masses to bring about change of attitude towards work culture in the state. Also speaking on “Media’s response to reporting on social issues with special reference to human trafficking” Editor , Nagaland Post, Geoffrey Yaden said media can play a catalytic role by being an integral part of the process to address the issue. He also felt journalists require to be informed, updated and sensitized to the subject so as to create better awareness on the aspects of the law and rights. However, the media cannot do it alone and it needed a joint effort with NGOs and administrative bodies dealing in human trafficking and its problems, he said. He also pointed out that India was on Tier-2 of the Watch List by the US government for its consistent failure to effectively tackle the menace of human trafficking, which he described as a grievous crime. Yaden also said besides trafficking in children, even young people especially educated teenaged girls were vulnerable. On this, he said newspapers need to be cautious about advertising certain placements as some of them were clearly meant to ensnare young girls seeking job opportunities. He said checking antecedents of advertising clients and having them cleared by the district authorities could prevent bogus persons from ensnaring young girls desperate for job opportunities. He said many there was huge demand in urban homes for servants and this has resulted in child trafficking even in the state. Yaden called upon journalists too provoke the thoughts of people on this issue through write ups. He said the seminar to empower journalist on human trafficking was much needed as it would help them provide a better perspective on the issue. The team leader Impulse NGO network, Shillong, Hasina Kharbhih while delivering the introductory note, stressed on the media’s role in educating the community about various issues and laws of human trafficking. Affirming that response from the northeast on trafficking was overwhelming, where some 5000 stories were reported by the regional newspapers as against less than 1000 in the national media. She said media being a powerful tool could deliver a humane attitude towards addressing the menace of trafficking. Hasina also talked about how media could be a major component while reporting on child rights at the same time playing an educative role without victimizing the child. She said around 1000 media reports on human trafficking in the print and electronic media nationally in 2001-02 , 3000 resulted in cases being registered on missing children and related cases. Hasina stated that the Northeast has four international borders making it specifically more vulnerable to Child trafficking as they were easy to lure from economically challenged families with a promise of a job, token money or even better education for the children. She said that even Bhutan was becoming a haven for the traffickers to hoodwink the authorities. For the media, it was important to traumatize the victim by insensitive or sensational writing but to give a balanced report with constant follow ups on the case She said that there was need to distinguish between the victim and the crime as journalists often tended sensationalize at the cost of causing more distress to the victims by branding them with the crime. Defining trafficking as “when someone moves you form one place to another with the promise of giving you a job or offering you marriage by coercion fraud, deception and force. It is modern day slavery and traffickers will not hesitate to harm you and your family.” She said that 12 million African slaves were moved to Africa in 400 years but 30million women were trafficked in SE Asia in the last 10 years with profits of over $ 30 billion and that at any one time up to 20,000 girls are being transported within India for trafficking with 2-3 million people being trafficked, about 300,000 from Bangladesh and 200,000 from Nepal already being trafficked into India with 77 % for labour exploitation and 23% for labour As most of the trafficking takes place at village level Subonenba Longkumer, Project director Community Education Center spoke on anti human trafficking campaigns in Nagaland and vulnerability of human trafficking in Nagaland. He said that out of the 12 villages from the 115 surveyed in Mon. In partnership with World vision a team visited 30 churches and village community leaders and literature and poster campaigns were distributed to them. He said missionaries too had an important role to play as sometimes they too transported children knowingly on unknowingly to cities for better prospects, so the need to educate them was urgent. He then showed some poignant pictures of children carrying other children when they should actually be in school. The seminar was well attended by journalists of both print as well as electronic from Kohima and Dimapur, and NGO workers from Dimapur and Mon.

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