Staff Reporter

Very little action being taken to curb it in the absence of data

  • Strong nexus between trafficking, incidence of HIV/AIDS
  • UNDP-TAHA project initiated in 16 districts of State

    Chennai: The issue of trafficking is being glossed over because of lack of accurate data and clandestine nature of the activity, said speakers at the launch of media awards for reports on trafficking and HIV/AIDS here on Wednesday.

    Additional Director General of Police, CB CID, Anoop Jaiswal, said very little action was being taken on the trafficking in the absence of data.

    In the last four years 98 traffickers were booked under the Goondas Act. "There is now an urgency to do much more."

    Project Director of the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society Supriya Sahu said there was a nexus between trafficking and incidence of HIV/AIDS.

    Whenever trafficking in women and children went up, prevalence of HIV/AIDS also increased.

    "If HIV is the silent epidemic then trafficking is the silent scourge."

    The event was organised by the United Nations Development Program-Prevention of Trafficking and HIV/AIDS in women and girls (UNDP-TAHA) project. Citing National Aids Control Society data, Ms. Sahu said HIV/AIDS was prevalent among 4.8 per cent of sex workers.

    The UNDP-TAHA project has been initiated in 16 districts of Tamil Nadu.

    It aims at preventing trafficking and identifying vulnerable families through a mapping exercise.

    Village Watchdog Committees are being strengthened as part of the project to prevent trafficking.

    Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj said children should be educated about trafficking in school.

    Self-help groups could also be used to spread awareness on the linkages between trafficking and HIV/AIDS among women. He released a media handbook on trafficking and HIV.

    It provides tips for sensitive reporting on the two issues and is published by the HIV and Human Development Resource Network (HDRN) for UNDP-TAHA project.

    HDRN launched eight media awards, four each for electronic and print media, sponsored by the UNDP-TAHA project.

    These are aimed at gaining visibility and priority for the issues in the media.

    The awards are open to Indian citizens aged above 18.

    Work to be submitted for the awards should have been written between January and September 2006.

    Priority will be given to regional language reports.

    Applications for the awards are open till October 10.

    The award will be announced on October 20. More details on the award are available on www.hdrn.org.

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