Saturday, 18 August 2007

Workshop puts students on guard against human trafficking

Workshop puts students on guard against human trafficking
Staff Reporter
“It is a shady industry spanning several countries”
For a cause: Students taking a pledge to create awareness of and prevent trafficking, at CSI Bain’s School in Chennai on Friday. —

CHENNAI: Upturned faces alternated between horror and laughter at CSI Bain’s School in Kilpauk on Friday, as students listened in rapt attention to a presentation on human trafficking, which was interspersed with games.

Organised by the Madras Christian Council of Social Service (MCCSS), the workshop focussed on several issues, including the magnitude of the problem in Tamil Nadu and the modus operandi of traffickers. “It is a social evil. Adolescent girls especially are targeted. They are lured into commercial sex, pornography, sex tourism, begging or domestic work,” a representative of the MCCSS explained to the students.

Discussing the problem in the State, MCCSS executive secretary R. Isabella said that procurers targeted poor families and lured away young boys and girls with a promise of getting them highly paid jobs in the city. “It is a huge network and so it is difficult to catch them,” she said.
According to the MCCSS, the menace is a $8-billion industry and spans several countries, with India being both a source of victims as a well as a transit destination. “Women in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are especially vulnerable,” another representative of the MCCSS said, adding that HIV/AIDS, drug addiction and pregnancies were caused in many cases of trafficking.

Ponni, a transgender and representative of the MCCSS, highlighted the problems faced by her community when it came to trafficking by describing her experiences.

To demonstrate a common lure used by traffickers, a few members of the MCCS then performed a skit that had the children laughing while at the same time showing them how vulnerable people were to the wiles and charm of people involved in trafficking.

A poster-drawing competition was then held. Around 100 students of the CSI Bain’s and CSI Ewart’s Schools participated in it. In a resultant riot of colour, the students painted on the theme ‘Stop Trafficking’.

Jeff Pankratz, a representative of Justice Ventures International, an organisation that supports the MCCSS, administered an oath to the students. They pledged to do their best to create awareness of trafficking and do their utmost to prevent it.

P. Manorama, chairperson, Child Welfare Committee, and Beulah Azariah, south regional coordinator of Initiatives: Women in Development, judged the competition in which Josephine Vanspall, a student of CSI Bain’s School, won the first prize.

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