‘Caravan Swarkasha’ brings a change

U.S. Consul-General, Hyderabad, Michael C Mullins felicitating members of NGO Prajwala in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Photo: Nagara Gopal

U.S. Consul-General, Hyderabad, Michael C Mullins felicitating members of NGO Prajwala in Hyderabad on Tuesday. Photo: Nagara Gopal

Seventy-seven victims of human trafficking, who had been silent on their ordeal fearing stigma, reportedly opened up during the ‘Caravan Swaraksha’ campaign spreading awareness against trafficking of women across three States.

Most of the victims were aged between 12 and 18 years of age, and made impromptu revelation of their hidden stories in various meetings, encouraged by the trafficking survivors’ accounts, informed Sunitha Krishnan, founder of ‘Prajwala’, the NGO spearheading the campaign.

The ‘Caravan Swaraksha’ which is travelling across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, has another partner NGO from Chennai, Catholic Relief Services, and is backed by the US Consulate, Hyderabad. It was kick-started on January 9, led by eight trafficking survivors who went from district to district, addressing public events, and making people take pledge against trafficking.

After covering all 23 districts in both the Telugu-speaking States, the campaign has now reached Orissa. On Tuesday, 22 NGO partners who had received the caravan in the districts and organised events, were felicitated by the US Consulate General Michael Mullins and Telangana State Women and Child Development Principal Secretary M. Jagadeeshwar.

“We were astonished by these girls who got up in public gatherings and shared their ordeals. Most of them were duped into love affairs by traffickers, but later brought back to their parents,” Ms.Krishnan said.

A revelation

Another unexpected instance of revelation for the campaigners was when about 40 men of a particular underprivileged community in the belt of Chittoor, Ananthapur and Kadapa districts confessed that they were into trafficking.

“Some of them broke down and admitted that they had trafficked hundreds of girls without the realisation that they were committing a heinous crime. In fact, they thought they were helping poor families. They begged us for rehabilitation,” Ms.Krishnan said. The campaign has clocked 10,000 kilometres in 70 days, and organised 385 public events, with help from NGOs, police and district level government officials. The first phase of the campaign is set to conclude on May 22 at Bhubaneshwar. It is aimed to cover whole country in the second and final leg of the Caravan, in the next two years, Ms.Krishnan shared.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 8:34:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/caravan-swarkasha-brings-a-change/article8439636.ece