Special Correspondent

Workshop to discuss amendments suggested to the Act "Trafficking is too often mixed up with commercial sex in judicial and political circles"

CHENNAI: Greater co-operation between non-governmental organisations, the police and the public to prevent trafficking is the need of the hour, speakers told a seminar on trafficking in women and children held on Wednesday.

The involvement of the community, besides the voluntary organisations and the enforcement agency, was the key to preventing large-scale trafficking of women and children, said R. Isabel, executive director, Madras Christian Council for Social Service.

Watching out for destitute and children, providing the police with tip-off and helping stranded women reach a safe zone were the ways in which the community could help.

The workshop, organised by the Council and the Global Citizens Trust, sought to discuss the amendments suggested to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act so as to gauge the ramifications of these changes and the response of the implementing agency in protecting the rights of victims.

The large extent of the problem put the nation on a `watch list' of the United States Department of State for rising number of cases and non-compliance with minimum standards.

The U.S. Government's anti-trafficking efforts abroad included assistance for rescue and support of victims, punishing traffickers and training potential victims to prevent trafficking, Anjana Chatterjee, Political Affairs Officer, U.S. Consulate, said.

The issue of trafficking was too often mixed up with commercial sex work in judicial and political circles; as a consequence, trafficking got condoned and prostitution over-politicised, E. Rajarethinam of GCT said.

The workshop would be followed up with a skill development training programme and a seminar. This was being done to promote collaboration between the Government and civil society on trafficking.