The West Bengal government has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra government to prevent migration and trafficking of women since a lot of movement of people takes place between the two states, a minister said.
West Bengal Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Minister Dr Shashi Panja said to help save children from being trafficked and fall prey to other forms of cyber abuse, the state is telling students and heads of colleges and universities to build awareness about the online menace of cyberbullying, trafficking and other forms of abuses among the students.
Awareness is being built primarily through seminars, symposiums at the college level and in rural areas Kanyashree clubs are being formed to make rural students aware of the menace of trafficking, the minister said.
She was speaking at the state-level consultation on ‘Uses and Abuses of Technology’ organised by the state government and UNICEF here on the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons.
An MoU has been inked with the Maharashtra government in this regard to
prevent migration of women in between the two states for trafficking, Panja said.
The state is vulnerable to trafficking for having porus international border with Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and other states. Besides, there is a vulnerability index in certain districts and certain pockets in the state, she said.
The minister said that since 2013, the state government’s primary focus has been on the prevention of trafficking along with the rehabilitation of the rescued girls and women.
“Traffickers are now changing the style of their work and using the online route because of the easily available technology to the people. Since the Covid pandemic, technology is being abused to lure children and women into trafficking,” Panja said.
We cannot ask children not to look at their mobile, so we have to educate them. The children are now very much independent minded and parents cannot interfere in their activities all the time,” the minister said.
Mohammad Mohiuddin, Chief of UNICEF West Bengal, said that West Bengal has been used as an origin from where trafficking is done and also used as a transit point.
Children and women are being brought from other neighbouring states and are being trafficked to the main cities of India like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi and even outside the country. Bongaon sub-division of West Bengal and Jessore district of Bangladesh on the other side of the border is a trafficking belt and the traffickers are very active here. UNICEF has been working with the government, panchayats, child protection groups and self-help groups, NGOs to build awareness at the grassroots level,” he said.
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