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Empowering communities to protect their children from trafficking

NORTH 24 PARGANAS, WEST BENGAL

Context
The district of N. 24 Parganas in West Bengal, has long been a hotspot for child trafficking, child marriage, hazardous work, and children running away or going missing. The blocks are home to poor daily-wage labourers and their families. Through our work here, we knew we needed to build a sustainable solution that would be championed by the community. Our objective was to prepare these communities to be resilient to trafficking, by equipping them with the knowledge and tools to be able to identify, respond to and prevent child harm.
Copy of 3. Volunteers sit with community women and identify safe and unsafe spaces-edit.jp

4551
community women trained

1127
school officials

67 

panchayat officers

9

police officers

proactively collaborated with

525

early marriages successfully averted using our community based model

10,858

children have been protected from falling prey to child labour or have reduced working hours

1,986

children are attending school regularly, living a life safe from trafficking

SESSIONS WITH WOMEN FROM THE COMMUNITY
Our Strategy

We recognised that the issue of child protection within these communities are extremely sensitive and layered, with several contributing socio-economic factors. It was crucial that we facilitate close collaboration at the institutional and systemic levels. We also worked with the community to build capa­city and systems at the grassroot in order to enable them to become an active, vigilant, and viable medium to protect children from serious harm. 

 

To ensure that our solution was sustainable it needed to be anchored by the local community. In addition to equipping them with the skills to identify, respond to and prevent child harm there was also a need to be able to ‘track’ children to ensure their safety. Since schools already track children through their daily attendance registers, we partnered with school systems that would help us identify children who are at risk of being trafficked. A child who is present in school everyday is, at the very least, a child who has not been trafficked.

Our Approach to Combat Child Trafficking in Bengal 

While we teamed up with schools across North 24 Parganas, to track children, we also worked with community members and other local stakeholders to build capacity to recognise trafficking and prevent it. Our focus was to ensure children have an alert and accountable system of community support and protection around them. 

Ensuring children are attending school by establishing regular contact with at-risk children

  • We trained women volunteers to lead interventions with relevant accountable stakeholders to enroll children into school and ensure they are attending school regularly.  

  • We supported school authorities in institutionalizing a tracking mechanism that identifies children who are irregular,  leading to timely interventions.

Investing in the systemic capacity building of grassroots women leadership

  • We trained women from the local community to identify and record child trafficking incidents so that we could plan speedy intervention, leveraging their unique local and contextual knowledge. ​

  • The training provided them with the tools and confidence to represent and address the safety issues of children and women with official stakeholders such as school principals, police officers and GP members. 

Equipping local stakeholders to prioritize child safety in their interventions

  • We facilitated regular dialogue and training on child safety with community members, school principals and teachers, local police officials and panchayat members. 

Everyone who works with children, directly or indirectly, should know how to keep them safe. We're committed to helping you do that.

Our framework for child protection - Listen, Identify, Support and Respond - is adaptable for all kinds of partners, be they government, civil society or communities. If you're ready to make child protection a part of your work - talk to us. We’d like to help you do it. Write to us at contact@aanganindia.org

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