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Location

3 wards of Kolkata city (direct) and 2 districts (through schools) in West Bengal
Thematic Intervention: Protection


Project Context

SANLAAP was formally registered under societies registration act in the year of 1989. SANLAAP is now known internationally for its work related to changing situations of many children and young women who were trafficked within their own country and beyond borders for commercial sexual abuse and violence. Initially its main focus was to work for girl children and women exploited by sex trafficking industry. Later on SANLAAP decided to involve in policy advocacy initiatives for protection of children. It has four core areas of work and accordingly designed its program under four different issues:

  • Prevention of trafficking, especially commercial sexual exploitation of women & children.
  • Prevention of second generation prostitution and facilitating services for women in need, and capacity building of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) emerging to work on child protection and welfare of children and women returned from violence or trafficking.
  • Reintegration and mainstreaming of survivors.
  • Advocacy on issues related to rights of the child.

Problem Statement:


In the state of West Bengal issues of child protection, especially trafficking and child marriage assumes enormous proportion due to the geographical location of West Bengal, having porous international border with mountain locked Nepal & Bhutan in north, reverie Bangladesh in east and seas in south. The state is highly vulnerable to inter-state and cross border trafficking of children and women by unscrupulous elements. The child protection issues are also made severe by many local socio-economic factors. Considering and comparing the rural population’s per capita income with that of urban, the former with limited earning capacity in poverty situation makes people, especially girl child and women, susceptible to traffickers. Mindset of guardians looking at children as a source to supplement the family income hardly think of importance of education for children, gender discrimination, unsafe migration, or lack of any information and the perils of sending a child for work to unknown destinations which effectively assists in commissioning offence of trafficking. Children in the state are trafficked primarily for labor and sexual exploitation. Accordingly to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 44% of victims of trafficking were associated with the state of West Bengal, nearly 75% (out of 4164) of them were under the age of 18 years and 85% of them were women. Similarly, nearly 80% (of 2793) of the victims of trafficking rescued were under 18 years age and over 83% were women. However, the effective judicial process is drastically insignificant as can be understood from conviction of only 11 person out of 1,795 charge sheeted against arrest of 1,847. On the other hand court had acquitted 224 people. Hardly 30% cases gets charge sheets filled in low crime reporting scenario and conviction rate is less than 10% according to the same report. It amplifies the fact that access to justice for trafficked survivors is an area that needs to be seriously addressed. The non-engagement of the survivors in the entire judiciary process results in absence of ownership in the process which results in children looking at the court procedures as a burden.

Marriage has been one of the guises for Trafficking. 54.7% minor girls in West Bengal get married before the legal age of marriage as per DLHS 2007-08 data. The vulnerability of the guardians and the girl are exploited by the traffickers. Social customs, tradition, ignorance, poverty and security for the girl perpetuate child marriage over the generations, impeding the development of the girl child. Limitations have been observed from both the duty bearers and right holders part. The laws are inadequate, which are further weakened by ineffective enforcement by untrained functionaries at different level. The ineffective juvenile justice system, lack of convergence among the existing social protection schemes, inadequate budgetary provision, lack of provision of rehabilitation of the rescued children, minimal prosecution, procedural delays in prosecution play their part in perpetuating the injustice against children. The patriarchal values, socio-cultural acceptance of child marriage, diverse socio-cultural and economic condition, lack of access to education, lack of job opportunity and livelihood insecurity, lack of awareness of community on the redressing mechanism and lack of information on available systems to address the issue, limitations of RTE Act to provide free education to children up to the age of 18 years, impact of globalization and modernization resulting a dream of having a better and secure life among the adolescents are the bedrock on which the children had been becoming victims of trafficking and child marriage. Children growing up in the red light areas of Kolkata are vulnerable to a host of child protection violations, stigma and discrimination which often renders them to be reliant on the red light economy on the rebound. The absence of involvement of the urban governance structures for addressing the issues of child protection through convergence and planning results in worsening of the situation of violations.

Achievements & Impact


Key Result Area:
* Ensure full retention in schools
* Functional youth groups who can act as vigilant group for identifying vulnerable children in the community – towards creating a safer environment

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Formation and strengthening of youth group through regular group discussions.
* Providing special coaching support to 45 vulnerable children from 3 RLAs (red light areas) to ensure their retention & completion of school final examination.
* Develop 30 Youth as young leaders for addressing child protection violations through intergenerational dialogues.
* Developing linkages with WCPC, Police & other service providers through regular interactive meetings.

* 10 children (Kolkata-2 & South 24 Parganas-8) were rescued from trafficking.
* 7 children assisted in continuing education and appearing for 10th & 12th standard board examination.
* 4 children from Sonagachi red light area were assisted in getting admission into boarding schools.
* 19 reports of child sexual abuse attended.
* 15 children prevented from getting into child labor.
* 9 children saved from child marriage.
* 2 children saved from trafficking.
* Software apps viz. Bondhu (Friend), Missing Children and Virtual Police are shared with children to sensitize them about ways they can receive help from the government duty bearers.


Key Result Area: Change in Children’s perception about Police from fear to protectors, to be developed through greater interaction and participation

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Organizing interactive sessions of police & children of Khiddirpur RLA within the Child Friendly Corner of Waltgunj Police Station (PS).
* Organized events in partnership with Police to involve children & related adults under football match, drawing, outing or similar activities.

* 6 interactive sessions were held with Police, youth leaders and children for developing greater linkage, association between the children and police. The focus of discussion was documentation of case stories of capturing qualitative aspects of police interaction with children.
* All documented cases, drawings and anecdotes compiled into a publication for dissemination as good practice.


Key Result Area: Interfaces on “Rehabilitation and Reintegration” through Awareness and Building opinion with organizations working on Trafficking or managing Child Care Institutions (CCI's)

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Consultative Workshops with caregivers from CCIs in Manipur for dealing with trafficked victims and working on their rehabilitation and reintegration through the “Rehabilitation and Reintegration Toolkit”.
* Facilitate the process of inter-state convergence between the 2 Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPC’s) of West Bengal & Manipur for expediting the rescue and restoration of trafficked victims passing through Bengal to Manipur.
* Capacity Building of community based organizations on legal literacy to enable them address the cases effectively with different stakeholders.

* 7 trafficked children were re-integrated after rescue through SNEHA Home.
* Conducted meetings with State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) and Directorate of Child Rights and Trafficking on the reports developed for identifying action points for strengthening community based rehabilitation of trafficked survivors and victim compensation.
* Discussion has been done where it has been suggested to engage State Legal Service Authority (SLSA) Secretary for increasing the scope of interim compensation and final compensation to the victims and for undertaking a proper documentation of it.


Key Result Area: Developing a learning platform for CRY partners working on trafficking

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Interaction with CRY partner organizations working on trafficking issues.
* Dissemination of the Rehabilitation and Reintegration Tool Kit and other related training modules and handling of trafficked victims while seeking inputs from the partners working in the area of rehabilitation and reintegration.

* Path Pradarshak, CRY partner from Chhattisgarh, had their exposure to Sanlaap for lessons from experiences of Sanlaap’s efforts on prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration.
* Partnership established between State Commission for Protection of Child Rights of Manipur and West Bengal.

Highlights of technical and capacity building inputs:


In addition to scheduled guidance and monitoring, CRY had organized below inputs to the project:
CRY is facilitating consultative engagements on rehabilitation and reintegration among Sanlaap, Manipur state partner MACR which works on policy advocacy on protection, West Bengal & Manipur state Commission for Protection of Child Rights, CBO’s, Women Helpline, Department of Women and Child Development, Anti Human Trafficking Unit, District Child Protection Units, Child Welfare Committees. The consultation process is especially looking into inter-country trafficking aspect and exploring the possibility of i) developing SOP for inter-country trafficked survivor’s repatriation; ii) having Transit Centers around the border areas; and iii) initiating work on Rehabilitation and Reintegration of trafficked survivors in the Manipur. Developing SOP for inter-country trafficked survivors is the point being focused upon considering the spate of both adults and children of Nepalese origin being rescued from trafficking in the state of Manipur.

Highlights on community action and government interface:


* Prosecution: With regards to Rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked survivors, Sanlaap could make an inroad with the Judiciary for initiating video-conferencing of the trafficked survivor from Bangladesh. This could reduce her period of stay in the Child Care Institution which has been a reason for victims turning hostile with the uncertainty of the period of stay in Child Care Institutions where she needs to be present for giving deposition. The consistent engagement with the judiciary has been beneficial for Sanlaap to drive forward the point of repatriating survivors willing and wanting to return home. Visit of a group of judicial officers to SNEHA Home also helped in getting first hand perspective of the trafficked survivors who otherwise remain as a person on paper bereft of the humane touch. Sanlaap along with CRY were invited by the SLSA (State Legal Service Authority) and the Judicial Academy for making presentations on the areas of support from the judiciary that would be helpful with regards to trafficked and Child Sexual Abuse survivors which helped enormously. The Chairperson of the Juvenile Justice Committee of the High Court facilitated the discussion the Sessions on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and access to justice.


* Rehabilitation & Reintegration: Sanlaap has been consistently engaging with District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) & State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) on the issue of victim compensation, in the realm of rehabilitation and reintegration while also linking it with Prosecution. They have been able to initiate the process of Victim Compensation in 2 cases whereby an amount of Rs. 30,000/- and Rs. 1,50,000/- has been passed. In this process, Sanlaap encountered few challenges which need further policy deliberations. These are:
- Absence of bank account for a minor, which is needed to protect the money from being used up by adults or in anything which is not intended by the survivor.
- Processing & awarding compensation for survivors from other countries. Such survivors at times also step back from claiming the victim compensation as it can mean s/he need to extend the period of stay in the Child Care Institution.
Another area where Sanlaap has achieved a step forward in social inclusion encompassing the economic rehabilitation is forging a convergence with the District Rural Development Cell (DRDC, in North 24 Parganas district). Taking into consideration the challenges faced in the social inclusion process of trafficked survivors, economic rehabilitation at the community level proved to be daunting. Engaging the survivors with the Self Help Group Scheme of the Government in rural areas, is being undertaken, whereby 2 groups of survivors with whom Sanlaap has worked, have been linked with the SHG and bank credit linkage, with support from CBO’s. Members are undertaking tailoring trainings, a need identified and expressed by the survivors themselves for sustaining themselves. This has helped in getting them linked with the government health scheme also. The success of the collaboration could provide the scope for initiating similar processes in other districts.


* A Reverie Boat Campaign was undertaken from 18th to 20th December’ 18 in the delta region of South 24 Pargana district to address the high vulnerability and susceptibility of children for being trafficked due to remoteness of this deltaic region. The objective is to create awareness on the issue through the usage of ventriloquism talking doll, folk music and street corners shows on the one hand while also facilitating reporting of cases. It was jointly undertaken with the involvement of CSOs Karmadhakshya, Nari o Shishu Kalyan Kendra, Panchayat Samity, Gosaba & Kultoli Police, SCPCR, and DLSA. The campaign resulted to:
* More than 3,000 adults & 1,500 children being sensitized on unsafe migration & trafficking
* 965 children, parents and other stakeholders signed the petition on need for increasing vigilance and effective case management of reported cases at Panchayat / Village level and through police stations.
* Block officials, Police, PRI representatives and local CBOs sensitized and partnered to ensure convergence and collaboration.
* 3 cases of missing children and child marriage have been identified and dealt with.
* 4 other possible trafficking cases were reported to police by the people during the event.

Plans


Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Functional youth groups who can act as vigilant group for identifying vulnerable children in the community – towards creating a safer environment.

* Special education to help the different graders better to cope with their schooling.
* Capacity building and stakeholder meetings for strengthening the linkages between youth group & different stakeholders.
* Life skills capacity building undertaken by peer educators for broad basing the learning to other children.
* Youth members and guardians approach school for admitting drop outs through waiver/ access to conditional schemes & stipends.

Capacities of Students built using digital technology and capacity building to prevent CR violations

* The IVR system is expanded to the districts as a prevention and response tool on the issue of trafficking.
* Expand the Digital Medium to the districts level local administration and SHG’s identified to link the vulnerable children identified with the VLCPC’s.



Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Strengthened community policing mechanisms addressing CR violations

* Organize interactive sessions between Police & Children of RLA along with their guardians.
* Prepare a detailed report based on the experiences of previous year and share with Kolkata Police & SCPCR to endorse it as a Model program.
* Documentation of change in children’s perception towards Police undertaken and presentation of the documentation to Kolkata Police for replication in other P.S’s.
* Meeting with Police for taking children from the RLA’s for outings, participation in children’s events and in the sports program.

Strengthened prosecution, rehabilitation & reintegration ensure justice for survivors.

* Organize state level trainings for caregivers and service providing agencies in 2 other states.

Developing a learning platform for CRY partners working on trafficking.

* Developing network of CRY partners who would collectively take up agreed upon issues for C.B and advocacy.
* Develop areas of convergence among stakeholders.

Financial Summary: January to December 2019


Budget Breakup 2019

Protection

22,304

87%

Administration

3,222

13%

Total Grant Approved

25,526

100%