Empowering women to combat human trafficking: meeting challenges and creating change
“I walked out of G.B Road with my own feet and from the world of darkness into a world of light and freedom…”, said Pooja, a survivor of trafficking, the heinest crime against women, as the Council for the World Mission joined hands with Church of North India to celebrate womanhood and salute the survivors of human trafficking and violence against women on the International Women’s Day in a grand manner on 8th March, 2009 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Pooja was joined by several other survivors, who are now human rights activists, in sharing their positive stories on the fight against human trafficking.
Dr Ranjana Kumari a leading social activist and Director of Centre for Social Research, Dr Anne F Stenhammer Regional Programme Director of UNIFEM South Asia and Madhu Kishwar Editor of ‘Manushi’ were the lead speakers of the day along with three young women social activists namely Ms. Rygalmo Tamang, Ms. Pooja and Ms. Shampa Roy. The seminar was moderated by Dr. Jyotsna Chatterjee, Director Joint Women’s Program.
Gradually the air of women empowerment in the Magnolia Auditorium became more vibrant as Ms. Anne Stenhammer powerfully thrusted on putting an end to the gender discrimination. The importance of engagement of men and boys in the process was highlighted. It was a shock to learn that India was the leading country in South Asia for human trafficking and that after arms and ammunition this was the second largest trade in the world. In 2001 a landmark was made in UNIFEM as it took an initial step to pressurize the government in enforcing a law to stop human trafficking. Further in the year 2008 a signatory of 4 million people was submitted to the Gen. Secretary, UNIFEM, to intensify the debate on sexual tourism. It was really encouraging to learn that now steps are being taken for the enforcement of women rights to own property and land, since poverty and lack of ownership of assets and resources is one of the main reasons for human trafficking. She added on the role of media in playing an active role in addressing the issue as a watchdog.
“My name is …., and I am liberated from a life of fear”, was one of the voices from the Kolkatta Sanved team of young girls who have been rehabilitated through Dance Movement Therapy and performed a thematic dance presentation titled, “Proiti: The Driving Force”. With the motto, “Oh mind do not stray in the darkness, follow the blazing pole star”, the young girls spoke to the audience about their lives and how they have come out of the world of darkness to light, and today with a quest to move forward and accomplish their dreams and dare to encourage others to dream as well as move around with performing dance movement as an alternative approach to recovery and psycho-social rehabilitation of victims of violence and trafficking.
The program came to a close with men and women greeting each other and promising to enable women live a life of dignity and to celebrate womanhood each day of their lives.
Article from: The Church of North India