Trafficking for sex is demand driven.
The demand also makes it a lucrative business for the traffickers. The key step to combat this growing menace is through awareness. Knowledge of how, why and who of sex trafficking can create a safety matrix for young children and girls who are increasingly on the radar of sex traffickers.
Out of the 40.3 million victims of trafficking today, 30% comprise of young children, with majority being young girls. We educate for creating a new social fabric to end demand by systematic awareness programme amongst school children. Our national school
awareness programme runs across rural and urban India, reaching thousands of school children across municipal, private and international schools.
We started the Rural School Programme in 2016. Children across high trafficking belts in the country are covered through extensive awareness sessions. These programs are being conducted in all girls’ school as well as co-education schools, addressing
the social dynamics of rural india. The focus of the sessions is to generate
awareness and prevent child
marriage and trafficking. The programme further delves into the deeper terrains of gender discrimination where it also gives the adolescent girls and boys opportunities to think and reflect on the different
discriminations, violation of rights and violence faced by women and children in the society.
Discussions on trafficking revolve round issues of why and how girls and women are trafficked into sex trade, trafficked for labour and for other grievous offences. The sessions on trafficking focuses on generating their consciousness such that they do
not fall into any such situations unknowingly. Through these sessions, the girls not only develop an understanding of the issues, but also develop a resilience whereby they can protest and prevent any such incidents in their own lives.
In March 2017, we conducted the rural
awareness programme with the Ministry of
Women and Child Development.
Find out more about Missing WCD Rural awareness programme here.
- Majority of the students attending the programme belong in the 14-17 years age bracket
- Doctor, teacher and footballer or cricketer are the most popular dream ambitions
- 69% of the students don’t watch the news
- 99% of students use mobile phones, with calling and playing games being the most popular function
- 46% have seen cases of child marriage and missing girls in their neighbourhood
- 94% of students rated themselves as 2 or 3 on a scale of 1-10 on their knowledge of trafficking and what they can do to prevent it.
- The rating changed to 6 or 7 after attending the awareness programmes with 86% wanting to participate actively to prevent sex trafficking cases in their neighbourhoods.
We started the Urban School Awareness Programme in December 2018. We believe it is important to reach out to children in urban areas as well since the trafficking itself is now moving from rural to urban. Children in cities, especially young girls, are increasingly being targeted by sex traffickers, who find it easy to approach them often through social media platforms.
Each child has the right to safety. Combining education with engagement, we have developed a highly interactive pedagogy using the MISSING game, stencil art and other digital tools, motivating students to become key catalyst in social transformation through the Missing Awareness and Safety School Program (MASSp).
Key Objectives of the Programme
- Make children aware sex trafficking, why and how it happens, who does it, who can be victims and helping them remain safe from potential traffickers. Children between the ages 10-16 years are most likely to be targeted by traffickers online or offline.
- Making them aware how traffickers are increasingly targeting vulnerable teens and pre-teens online and how easy it is to fall into their trap.
- Create awareness on the role each of us are playing in creating demand, leading to increasing cases of sex trafficking among young girls and children. Eg: consumption of pornography acting as knowledge for adoloscents to satisfy sexual curiosity has direct connection to sex traffcking.
- Identify potential mediums that distort the reality and information and create roots for gender discrimination and patrichial structure.
- Educate what children can do tackle this menace. Inspire them to become youth community leaders creating awareness amongst friends and family using art and technology under the Missing Awareness and Safety School Program (MASSp).
Key Outcomes of the Urban School Awareness Programme
BEFORE the session
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being highest) 65% of students rated their awareness of trafficking 5 or below. Only 13% gave a rating of 8 and 9. None of them rated themselves as 10.
- More than half of them were not aware of any laws or regulations related to trafficking ad pornography in India.
- At the same time, 68% recalled reading about cases of missing women and girls atleast once in 2-3 days and 27% even recalled reading or hearing multiple news items in a single day!
AFTER the session
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the lowest and 10 being highest) 83% of students rated their awareness of trafficking 9 or 10 and rest rated themselves between 7 and 8. None rated themselves 5 or below.
- 77% agreed to take action and call national helpline if they spot any potential victim of trafficking and 58% agreed that inspite of initial hesitation, they will still go ahead and inform parents and teachers as well.
- Over 65% students agreed that their knowledge of trafficking had increased tremendously and more than 50% agreed not to watch sexually explicit videos or images on the internet or phone.