Hyderabad: US Consulate General here and a city-based NGO Prajwala on Wednesday announced to launch a joint project from next month to create public awareness on the issue of human trafficking.
Under the project titled ‘Swaraksha, a trafficking in persons awareness campaign’, experts will travel on a bus to villages and towns across Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Odisha between January and April 2016, to raise awareness about human trafficking and to empower rural communities to fight it.
The objective of the campaign is to motivate the community to protect themselves by better vigilance, US Consulate General’s Public Affairs Officer Gabriel Hons-Olivier, who unveiled the logo of the caravan ‘Swaraksha’ and Prajwala’s chief functionary Sunitha Krishnan said. To this effect, a caravan ‘Swaraksha’ will be launched on January 9, 2016 that will travel across rural and remote places of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha targeting over 132 million people covering all the 53 districts of the three states in a span of four months, they said.
Activists of Prajwala, accompanied by victims of trafficking, will conduct a series of programmes daily. Films on trafficking will be screened and debates will be held to alert villagers that how the networks of human smugglers is spread in villages and towns, and the modus operandi they have adopted to trap the innocent boys and girls to lure them in the name of jobs, they explained, a release said.
The touring Prajwala teams will also establish a network of community vigilant groups across these states to equip the community to counter attempts of trafficking in their respective villages and towns.
Earlier, a regional consultation was held here to chalk out the campaign and 30 heads of various civil society institutions from these states participated in the event. Human trafficking, particularly human trafficking into sexual slavery is an urgent problem, and it is growing.
Andhra Pradesh is one of the largest sources of women and children trafficked into sexual slavery in India, and every year more than 2 lakh people are trafficked. Telangana and Odisha are also badly-affected with human trafficking, the release said.
Prajwala has been working to counter sex trafficking and sex crimes and it has rescued over 15,000 women and children from commercial sexual exploitation and supported hundreds of sex crime victims in the last two decades by way of providing them shelter and skill development.