Loreto Sisters have extended their support for social justice of the marginalised communities through empowerment, advocacy and social justice through its two social centres in India i.e. Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre and Darjeeling Mary Ward Social Centre. The centres are engaged in organizing Self Help Groups, Anti-human trafficking initiatives, awareness on women and child protection issues, health awareness, providing and facilitating access to basic education for vulnerable and migrant children and Skill Development through Vocational Training Centres. The ultimate motto of these two centers is ensuring Social Justice of underprivileged through building capacity of the community.
Kolkata Mary Ward Social Centre (KMWSC) has been intervening in one of most interior blocks of South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal i.e. Canning 1 Block through its project on “Sensitization on Anti-human Trafficking”. Canning is one of the major gateways to entre Sunderban region, and a vital source area of human trafficking. Darjeeling Mary Ward Social Centre has been also intervening on the issues of Human Trafficking through Safe Migration & Legal Aid Project in the tea garden areas of Malbazar Block in Jalpaiguri District. The components of the projects are:
- Mass awareness on Human Trafficking issues at all levels.
- Capacity Building of stakeholders at every level on laws and legislations pertaining to prohibition of human trafficking.
- Networking & Advocacy with the Govt. departments for ensuring justice to the survivors.
- Rescue, Restoration and Rehabilitation of trafficking survivors.
- Skill Development of women and adolescent girls, especially trafficking survivors and prone to trafficking victims.
- Legal Aid Service to the marginalized and trafficking survivors.
Gaps identified during intervention:
- There is awareness about trafficking as a substantial risk but no control over the problem both from a societal and systemic point of view.
- There is awareness about migration risks including trafficking, but people are ready to take the risks because of desperate economic situations.
- Missing cases are not talked about. There is little awareness on the problem and hardly any action taken.
- Gender differences in terms of gender power equations on decision making, education, violence against women and marriage exist among the respondent generation.
- Child marriage is a vital issue and socially practiced in rural areas.
- Child labour (a direct effect of poverty) plays a pivotal role in human trafficking. Demand of child workers (as cheap and sometimes unpaid labourers) in the urban areas results in trafficking.
- Safety nets like MGNREGA are available but not adequate.
- Poor economic conditions are at the root of women and girls’ vulnerability to migration risks including trafficking.
- North Bengal is surrounded by the borders of Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan due to which there are many incidences of human trafficking. Inspite of enhanced monitoring and vigilance there are still many problems to prevent trafficking .If there are any good and implementable strategies which could be adopted in North Bengal it would be a great achievement.
- After the rescuing of the trafficked victims there is a problem for rehabilitation due to very few Homes for them .The trafficked survivors also go back to the same profession of flesh trade since they are not accepted by society or the community.
- If better/alternative livelihood and employment options are available within the panchayat area/community, people will not have the need to migrate.