Praising West Bengal government’s flagship programme ‘Kanyashree’ for the girl child, Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi has said he wants to work jointly with the West Bengal government on anti-trafficking issues.
“I wrote a letter to her (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) that West Bengal has a great legacy of Nobel laureates and you consider me as one of your own supporter of West Bengal. I want to offer all my experience in this field to support you,” Satyarthi told PTI.
The international child rights activist said they had already launched a collaborative anti-trafficking programme with the Assam government and were planning to do soon in other states like Meghalaya and Maharasthtra.
In West Bengal, both a source and destination of human trafficking due to its geographical proximity to the border countries of Nepal and Bangladesh, The Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation was willing to work on preventive measures.
“We have to identify the source areas of trafficking and then take preventive measures like investing more on education, ensuring attendance of all children in schools especially the girls, providing better facilities for girls and women so that traffickers cannot penetrate into their houses,” he said, adding the state needed dedicated officers for children.
Satyarthi praised the ‘Kanyashree’ scheme, which provides
scholarships to girl students to prevent child marriage, but said that one scheme was not enough for the girl child.
“I welcome it and admire that the government has done a good initiative but that is just one activity. You need to do much more than that. Equally important is the rule of law. Trafficking is increasing. The highest trafficking is from here,” said the founder of ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’.
The ‘Kanyashree’ scheme has won all-round praise and was even represented as one of the best practices in the ‘Girl Summit 2014’ organised by the Department for International Development, UK and UNICEF.
Pointing out that cases of child labour, child sexual abuse and missing children are quite common in the state, Satyarthi said the government should focus on law enforcement and hold agencies like the police accountable.
“The government should work hand in hand with civil societies in a much more effective manner. One government scheme is not enough,” Satyarthi said.