Young India, The Ball is in Your Court

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Young India, The Ball is in Your Court

Government data revealed – Almost 20,000 women and children were victims of human trafficking in India in 2016, a rise of nearly 25 percent from the previous year.

In the recent, International Conference on Human Trafficking held in New Delhi, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra termed ‘human trafficking’ as the greatest human tragedy. He raised concerns about how this threat is real and on the rise, and the way people treat human beings as mere commodities is indignant.

Addressing to a wide audience, “Human trafficking is the greatest human tragedy that has fallen up on us. It has to be avoided and the younger generation has to be the torchbearers against it. Human trafficking constitutes a great menace to the present and the future generation,” he said.

Calling the Youth of India

We can’t agree more with him. The best advocates for youth are undeniably the young people, notably the students, who can put a stop to the ongoing trafficking menace. While on one hand, hundreds of young girls slip into the sleazy world of sex trade, each day; a thousand others take the charge to act upon to #EndDemand of sexual slavery.

NGOs – like us partner with several school authorities to determine the best approach to raise collective awareness about trafficking around schools and communities. Along with broadening their knowledge of sex trafficking, students play leadership roles for implementing these efforts in their best interests. When we started our Rural Awareness Program in Kultoli with the help of WCD, Shampa and Krishna were amongst the first individuals to approach us. Their passion to make a difference to the society was evident, and they quickly picked up journalist skill set. They now work as Youth Leaders representing Missing in their village, and bring to notice compelling situations across their communities.

Education is the key to raise awareness about the social evils in the world, including human trafficking.

“Being a teacher, I am passionate about educating the girls, so until today I have been lobbying with the government and international NGOs to fight for “compulsory, free, fine, able education,” said Anuradha Koirala, a Padmi Shri recipient, CNN Hero of 2010 and the founder of Maiti Nepal.

Till date, her organization has helped rescue 12000 girls from sexual slavery and saved another 45000 from getting trafficked.

Similarly, Leena Kejriwal, Kolkata-based photographer, installation artist and the founder of Missing, feels that before taking any action, it’s very important to become well-versed in the subject in question. In this case, the subject is human trafficking. A lot of misconception exists in the minds of people; it’s crucial to segregate the myths from the realities. Using art for activism, our Missing Stencils, larger than life installations of a girl’s silhouette represent the black holes millions of girls disappear into every year. Through engaging pieces of art, we believe in creating mass awareness, transcending language and space.

With hundreds of participants, including students and young artists, our Stencil Art project has received 42479610 impressions across 18 cities with 2500 stencils over 2 years.

Apart from educating them, it’s also important to involve the youth in solving this issue. Today’s urban youth, falling under the age group of 17-25 lead a very sheltered life. Little do they know about the world of trafficking. So, when we organized an awareness campaign for them, it came as an eye-opener; it not only made the young ones aware of the dark realities of our society but also taught them how to be compassionate even in distressed times of life.

“When Leena called me to help her out, as co-ordinator of the campaign in the city, I knew this was an opportunity I shouldn’t give up on. We gathered 30 enthusiastic girls from mainstream schools of the city who shared the same ideas as us, to create awareness about female trafficking in the city. We then split ourselves into groups of 5 and cut out stencils from the silhouette. After countless hours of effort, we were finally out on the streets. We used these to stencil the silhouette on the pre-selected locations using spray paint. Girls from NGO’s across the city accompanied us,” says Sakshi Jalan, one of our young contributors who joined Missing drive to raise collective awareness.

To know more on volunteer experience with Missing, click here – http://www.savemissinggirls.com/volunteer-experience

Last but not least, students also greatly benefit from working with a social cause, and here’s how:

  • They develop a deep understanding about the society and environment they are in.

  • They get a chance to see a side of the real world a classroom doesn’t show them. It helps them identify the problems that exist and gives them insights into the structure of the problem.

  • It helps with their future plans – working with a social cause helps students build stronger profiles for college applications and job applications.

Most importantly working for social causes are great learning experiences. Here are some of Missing’s initiatives focused on Young India: in one of them, we partnered with iVolunteer with an aim to promote ground-level awareness by involving numerous NGOs and student bodies to enhance the reach. An awareness talk session was conducted at Tiljala SHED, which is a Kolkata NGO that works towards empowering rag pickers and vulnerable women and children. Several stencils were created in association with students from Vidyapeeth School and the entire process was extremely innovative and interactive.

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Another one was when we joined hands with Every 8 Minutes & iPartner India and 10 other NGOs across India during 16 Days of Activism on Violence Against Women and Girls. The campaign focused on creating Missing Girls stencils on public walls across vulnerable areas all throughout India. The outcome of the event was phenomenal; it created enough awareness and got us more engagement. The NGOs we collaborated with are – Vatsalya, Udayan, Stop, Prerna and Jamghat, to name a few.

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So if you represent young India, we’re looking for you. Email us today and let’s stop trafficking together!

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