Regional network launched to check woman-trafficking

CUDDAPAH, JULY 24. Economic empowerment, social security and education of the poverty-stricken rural women, creating social awareness against woman-trafficking, surveillance and criminal action against middlemen luring or driving women into the flesh trade was imperative to eradicate the evil, asserted the District Collector, Jayesh Ranjan, on Saturday.

He launched a Regional Network Against Woman-Trafficking covering Cuddapah, Anantapur and Chittoor districts, at Rayachoti today in presence of the Collectors, SPs, Velugu project directors of the three districts, community coordinators and rescued sex workers. Mr. Ranjan would head the network as its convener and the Cuddapah SP's wife, Anupama Sajjanar, would be the co-convener.

Poverty the root cause

Presiding over the programme, he said flesh trade was prevalent in some poverty-stricken pockets of Cuddapah, Anantapur and Chittoor districts. He warned of criminal action against abettors and those harassing women rescued from flesh trade.He asked the police to deal sternly with the gangs involved, besides spreading awareness through Maithri Sanghams.

Rehabilitation homes

He assured the secured women of concerted efforts, in coordination with UNICEF officials, to set up rehabilitation homes for them. Bank loans were being sanctioned and a health package implemented for women of tribal hamlets to save them from exploitation.

The Anantapur Collector, Y.V. Anuradha, said it was a delicate and age-old problem, mainly on national highways. Just as giving dowry and giving a go by to moral values in marriage issues, flesh trade was not taboo in some sections, she stated.

Panels suggested

She suggested forming of committees comprising tribal elders' as a step towards eradicating flesh trade. She wanted training, health assistance and education of girl children.

The Chittoor Collector, S.S. Rawat, said creation of basic infrastructure and bringing about realisation of wrong-doing in the affected areas were needed to eradicate the evil. The Cuddapah SP, V.C. Sajjanar, said nearly 2.50 million women were involved in flesh trade in the country, of whom 70 per cent hailed from rural areas. Three districts in Rayalaseema were considerably affected in the State. Anti-trafficking committees were formed and awareness was being created through cultural troupes, Maithri Sanghams and habitation committees, he said.

Social security

The UNICEF coordinator, Sudha Murali, the founder of Sthree Seva Samstha, Hema Bedi,

and the representative of IOM, an NGO, Sudha Guthi, spoke.

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