"I am very happy to be present here to release the Home Management Training Manual for shelter homes for survivors rescued from human traffickers.
At the outset, let me applaud the wonderful work being done by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan and her NGO, ‘Prajwala’, a pioneering anti-trafficking organization.
I am happy to know that, ‘Prajwala’, which had a humble beginning in 1996, has pan India presence today and also operating internationally. It is truly noteworthy that ‘Prajwala’s work covers all the five pillars of Prevention, Protection, Rescue and Rehabilitation of survivors of human trafficking and their Reintegration into mainstream of the society.
I am glad to note that ‘Prajwala’ has now become one of the most powerful voices, nationally and globally, speaking for the survivors of human trafficking and striving to secure holistic services to them.
My dear sisters and brothers,
Human trafficking is much more than just a social evil. It is a violent crime against humanity itself. It is a menace that violates all the basic tenets of human rights, justice, dignity and is often referred to as modern-day slavery.
Every year, globally, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers. Almost every country is affected by trafficking as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.
In some cases, traffickers trick, defraud or physically force victims and in others, the victims are lied to, assaulted, threatened or manipulated into working under inhumane, illegal or otherwise unacceptable conditions.
Trafficking in persons has become an organized crime in the world. What is even more disconcerting is that this is a crime that very often remains hidden in plain sight, destroying lives and the social and economic fabrics of nations.
It is truly a matter of concern that India is also facing the problem of trafficking of men, women and children for forced labor or sexual exploitation.The annual statistics from the ‘Crime in India Report of 2016’ highlights that all States in India have reported cases of human trafficking.
Thankfully, due to the diligent efforts of the government and the work of dedicated civil society groups like Prajwala, 2016, we could witness the rescue of more than 23,000 survivors.
We simply cannot allow this most heinous of crimes to wreak havoc in human lives. Even a single human victim, is a victim ‘too many’.
Dear sisters and brothers,
I am confident that the government agencies, civil societies and NGOs will coordinate their efforts and step up the fight against human trafficking in an uncompromising, relentless and ceaseless manner. This war against human trafficking must continue till the last victim is rescued and rehabilitated and the last perpetrator is brought to justice.
The Fundamental Rights that form the bedrock of our constitution guarantee the undeniable right to freedom and the inalienable right against exploitation and all forms of forced labor, child labor and trafficking to each and every citizen.
Every citizen of this country has the right to a secure and dignified life.
Our constitution places the sacred duty upon each and every one of us to work hard to eradicate human trafficking. The entire society must unite for this cause.
We must do our best to spread awareness about the nature of this crime and the need to focus on rescue and rehabilitation of survivors.
People should also be encouraged to help and support the survivors of human trafficking to lead normal lives and re-join mainstream society.
Understanding the victim and the impact of trafficking on the survivors is of utmost relevance for all stakeholders providing multiple services to the survivors. All the stakeholders need to recognize the impact of violence, torture, abuse and exploitation on the survivors’ physical, mental, emotional, financial and spiritual health.
While the impact of the crime depends on the purpose for which the person is trafficked, it has been generally observed that those who are survivors of sex trafficking suffer from severe damages both to their bodies and also to their psyche.
Survivors suffer from shame and guilt and often somehow feel responsible for their own misery, and blame themselves. It is from these conditions that many survivors are rescued.
It is of paramount importance that we create an enabling and supportive eco-system for survivors to heal and lead normal lives. In addition to ensuring medical help, counselling and therapy, we have to provide avenues for education, training and employment to the survivors.
Special care must be taken in the case of child survivors, for the shock and trauma undergone by them would be immense. They would require a higher degree of care to make a full recovery.
In 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons. This UN resolution declared that such a day was necessary to “raise awareness of the situation of survivors of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.”
International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity
When survivors are rescued from exploitative situations, and suffer from the serious impact and consequences of such violence – their first and foremost requirement is a safe space and shelter towards their eventual rehabilitation.
Safe homes meant for care and protection face serious challenges in creating an enabling environment for holistic rehabilitation for survivors coming from such severely abusive conditions.
I understand that this crisis laid the groundwork for the development of the Home Management Manual by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan. I am confident that the Manual will build knowledge and skills that will help in tackling the unique psychological conditions of a trafficked victim and create an understanding on the legally acceptable ways of home management.
It is my sincere hope that all government and NGO run shelter homes would utilize this Home Management Manual, which is the result of collective experiences of over two decades of Dr. Sunitha Krishnan and the very able staff of Prajwala.
While government action is crucial, the onus of preventing this crime is on each and every one of us. Our diligence and courage can indeed save lives.
I once again congratulate and extend my best wishes to Dr. Sunita Krishnan and ‘Prajwala’ and hope that they will continue doing this exceptional service to humanity in the days to come.