Context: Long term conflict-induced vulnerability of children to trafficking and abuse
Objectives: To protect children from trafficking and empower them to enjoy their childhood and lead a life with dignity
Why this project?
This programme was chosen because child trafficking was a significant issue with little action being taken to address it. Whilst running a health project in the community, EHA recognised that there was an urgent need to respond.
To prevent trafficking from happening in the communities in the first phase of the project, EHA carried out targeted awareness-raising activities with groups across the community, including churches, student unions, women’s groups, and children in schools and in the communities.
The second phase involved:
- building community mechanisms for child protection through establishing village child protection committees (VCPCs), building their capacity, and linking them to the government mechanisms for child protection. Each VCPC included two children aged 12-15 as members.
- adolescent clubs for teaching, awareness-raising and skills building. This included livelihoods and skills training to reduce vulnerability. The clubs involved children who had dropped out of school, aged 12-18.
- ‘active communities against trafficking clubs’ were set up for school children aged 10-14
Local churches, self-help groups, student unions, young people and government came together to raise awareness, prevent trafficking and help build resilience to trafficking.
Children and communities were empowered by the project and by the development of robust partnerships between churches and other stakeholders and the project team. Evidence of impact includes:
- Community participation and engagement in the prevention of trafficking including student unions, adolescent groups and VCPCs
- The communities able to engage with police and government child welfare committees at district level for prevention of trafficking
- Children, especially those who have dropped out of school, empowered through awareness and training and able to say ‘no’ to traffickers
“I was able to say ‘no’ to a person who wanted to take me to Mumbai through false marriage, and also convince my parents not to send me, after learning about trafficking in the adolescent club.”
Maloti, Member of Adolescent Group
“My neighbours’ daughter was sold for 10 dollars, but we never thought we should do something about this… Now we know we all need to stand up and take action.”
How did the project interact with local or national protection/education/psychosocial support systems?
- The project trained the district Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board members which had been set up by the government and were not functioning, and made them functional
- The project trained police in the districts on the Juvenile Justice Act
- Child Welfare Committee and Juvenile Justice Board members were taken to the state capital for interaction and training with state-level commissioners and officers
- The project interacted with international and national NGOs to build capacity and share learning
- The project also conducted research findings which were presented at state and district level on trafficking and child labour
- The project went from general community mobilisation and awareness in the first phase to very specific targeted building community mechanism for child protection in phase two. In the current phase, the project is looking at migration and trafficking and supporting safe migration and prevention of trafficking. It has also started engaging with the tea industry to work on their tea plantations where there is a high incidence of human trafficking
- Simple steps to bring people together to address a critical issue is very effective, as people are often waiting for someone to lead the way so they can take action
EHA partners with Transform Aid International