CENTRE FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN STUDIES
Advocacy Program to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children at the local, national and regional level with the financial assistance of The Asia Foundation was initiated from March 1997 to 1998. At the commencement of the advocacy campaigns, CWCS undertook an initiative aimed at building two networks of NGOs in Bangladesh and South Asia. CWCS successfully launched two networks to combat trafficking in women and children at the national and regional levels namely Traffic Watch Bangladesh (TWB) – a network of national and grassroots level organizations and Traffic Watch South Asia (TWSA) – a South Asian network of member organizations.
Campaigns and advocacy programs with local government agencies, NGOs, community leaders, police, journalists, teachers, doctors, lawyers, parents, guardians, adolescents, children and particularly with the community people at the grassroots level were undertaken in partnershp with the TWB network members. The programs were mainly awareness raising workshops at thana level with community people, doctors, teachers, journalists, political leaders, religious leaders and law enforcing agencies throughout Bangladesh, especially in the traffic prone areas of the bordering districts.
CWCS organized a Fact-finding Meeting on 23 May 1997 followed by the National Workshop on Trafficking in Women and Children from May 24-25, 1997 to carry on the advocacy strategy to combat trafficking in women and children. In the Fact-finding Meeting, national and grassroots level NGOs discussed their areas of concern vis-à-vis this issue in Bangladesh. Participants developed IEC materials namely booklet for community, flyer for children, posters, leaflets and stickers with anti- trafficking messages. A Memorandum was also prepared to be given to the concerned ministries to take necessary action on the issue of trafficking in women and children and it was endorsed by 36 national and grassroots level organizations of the network.
As part of the advocacy programme of CWCS, Awareness Raising Workshop and Dialogues were organized in collaboration with the TWB member organizations. CWCS has organized 15 thana level two-day campaign workshops in traffic-prone areas of the country with the collaboration of TWB member organizations. The Awareness Raising Campaign Workshops aim to bring together relevant persons working at the thana administrative units, professionals and NGOs who are committed to combat trafficking in their areas.
At the national level, CWCS organized a one-day Dialogue with the Journalists on Combating Trafficking in Women and Children: Role of Media in Creating Awareness on June 14, 1997 in Dhaka. At the grassroots level, a one-day Dialogue with the Journalists at Comilla was organized in collaboration with PAGE Development Centre, Comilla on 12 August, 1997. Two one-day Dialogue with the Police Officials at Jessore and Kushtia were subsequently held on 9 and 10 September 1997 to aware the police and share their experiences of trafficking cases.
Advocacy to combat trafficking which mainly takes place in the rural areas can be very effective when it is carried out in partnership with grassroots level organizations were they become aware of the grave problem and work towards preventing it. The network has increased in number and many NGOs have been motivated on work together to combat trafficking in women and children in their own areas.
One year project on Forging Partnership to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children was undertaken with the financial assistance of the World Bank Dhaka Office from August 2001. Two regional workshops were held in Jessore and Rangpur during December 2001 which were attended by representatives from the government agencies, law enforcing agencies, local elected representatives, professionals, community leaders, human rights activists and NGO representatives. Two-day International Seminar on Strategizing to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children was also organized on 15-16 February 2002 at BRAC Centre INN, Dhaka. Participants included experts from home and abroad, particularly those who have made remarkable contributions towards achieving a violence free society, namely human rights activists, lawyers, doctors, media groups, cultural activists, researchers, representatives of the national and grassroots NGOs and development partners. In the seminar participants shared experiences and lessons learnt in awareness raising, advocacy, networking, rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration interventions.
In the concluding session, the participants prepared the Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children on the following issues:
A 3-year project on Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children in the Northern Region of Bangladesh was undertaken with the financial assistance of the European Commission, Brussels from 2000 to 2003.
CWCS launched a network, namely Traffic Watch Bangladesh-Northern Region (TWB-NR) to combat trafficking in women and children in the eight northern districts (namely Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Kurigram, Rangpur, Thakurgaon, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur and Gaibandha) of Bangladesh.
Specific Objectives of the project were:
Experience Sharing Meeting and National Workshop
CWCS organized a one-day Experience Sharing Meeting followed by a two-day National Workshop to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children from 7-9 January 2001 at Dhaka. Twenty-five grassroots level NGO representatives of eight districts from the northern region of Bangladesh attended the workshop.
Grassroots level NGOs working in the eight northern districts of Bangladesh shared their experiences related to the issue and developed IEC materials for awareness raising campaigns, namely posters, stickers and leaflets, booklet for the community and flyer for children. At the concluding session of the workshop, Traffic Watch Bangladesh Northern Region (TWB-NR) network was launched comprising of 25 grassroots level organizations. An action plan was formulated to organize the District Level Awareness Raising Campaigns at eight northern districts of Bangladesh during the first year of the project.
Training on Research for Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children
A two-day participatory Training on Research for Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children was held on 25-26 March 2001 at Gaibandha where representatives from 25 grassroots level organizations actively took part and learnt the various dimensions of research, data collection techniques, structure of report writing and plans to conduct research, especially on trafficking in women and children.
District Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops
Eight District Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops were organized jointly with TWB-NR lead organizations of each district in the northern region of Bangladesh, namely Dinajpur, Gaibandha, Kurigram, Lalmonirhat, Nilphamari, Panchagarh, Rangpur and Thakurgaon.
Thana Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops
Sixteen Thana Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops to Combat Trafficking in the Northern Region of Bangladesh were jointly organized by CWCS and TWB-NR member organizations who are working in the respective thanas during the second year of the Advocacy Programme. The 16 thanas of the eight northern districts were Biral and Chirirbandar in Dinajpur, Deviganj and Atwari in Panchagarh, Baliadangi and Pirganj in Thakurgaon, Kaligonj and Patgram in Lalmonirhat, Ulipur and Fulbari in Kurigram, Kaunia and Pirgonj in Rangpur, Fulsori and Saghata in Gaibandha, Domar and Jaldhaka in Niphamari.
Motivational Training of Youths for Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children in the Northern Region
Seven three-day Motivational Training of Youths for Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children in the Northern Region of Bangladesh were jointly organized by CWCS and Polli Sree at Dinajpur district. In the three-day Motivational Training of Youths for Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children, concept and key issues related to trafficking in women and children and strategies to combat trafficking were discussed. Based on the discussion, trainees prepared scripts based on actual incidents of trafficking (street drama, jarigan or folk song) and performed drama and folksongs. The youth trainees also gave their individual commitments to combat trafficking.
Conference on Grassroots Level Counter Trafficking Initiatives: Northern Region, Bangladesh
A one-day Conference on Grassroots Level Counter Trafficking Initiatives; Northern Region, Bangladesh was jointly organized on 11 August 2002 at Dhaka with Polli Sree, Dinajpur. Begum Khurshid Zahan Haque, Honourable Minister for Women and Children Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Ms. Anne Marchal, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bangladesh and Md. Shahidul Haque, Regional Representative of International Organization for Migration (IOM) graced the inaugural session as Special Guests. The Youth Cultural Team consisting of youth trainees from Dinajpur was launched and they performed folk song and drama. The lead organizations of the 8 northern districts shared their experiences and lessons learnt to combat trafficking in women and children.
Village Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children in the Northern Region of Bangladesh
Sixteen Village Level Awareness Raising Advocacy Workshops to Combat Trafficking in the Northern Region of Bangladesh were jointly organized by CWCS and TWB-NR member organizations. The 16 villages of the eight northern districts were namely Buraburi and Nawdanga of Kurigram, Dudumari and Atwari in Panchagarh, Shibgonj and Baliadangi in Thakurgaon, Amtoli and Daudpur in Dinajpur, Jaforgonj and Tepa Modhupur in Rangpur, Haribhanga and Burimari in Lalmonirhat, Dhanaruha and Nilkuthi in Gaibandha, Mirzagonj and Mahigonj in Nilphamari.
Youth Cultural Team launched by CWCS performed street drama and folk song to create awareness about the issue of trafficking among the villagers, especially women and children after the workshops.
Motivational Training for Adolescents to Campaign for Combating Trafficking in Women and Children
Eight Motivational Training for Adolescents to Campaign for Combating Trafficking in Women and Children were jointly organized by CWCS and Polli Sree, Bangladesh Social Development Academy and Bangladesh Paribesh O Manodadhikar Unnayan Sangstha in Kamolpur, Kaharole, Ramdubi, Amtoli, Biral, Rajapur, Haldibari and Goaldihi villages of Dinajpur district from October 2002 to January 2003. Trainees were introduced to the concept of trafficking and the various dimensions of the problem to equip them to be campaigners at the village level.
Socio-Economic Benefit Packages for Adolescent Campaigners Team
A one-day orientation programme on Socio-Economic Benefit Packages for Adolescent Campaigners Team was jointly organized by Centre for Women and Children Studies and Polli Sree at the Training Centre of Polli Sree, Dinajpur on 29 May 2003. Thirty adolescents were selected from 80 trainees who had participated in the 8 motivational training programmes for adolescents to campaign for combating trafficking in women and children in Dinajpur. Thirty trainees received five thousand taka each for their participation into the ongoing income generating projects of TWB-NR member organizations. The main aim of this financial package was to provide them with some support and incentive to continue the anti-trafficking awareness raising campaigns in their respective local communities.
Most of the boys and girls have bought cows with the money given to them as socio-economic benefit package. Some of the girls bought sewing machines and one of the girls invested her money in business. One of the boy have used his money in poultry farm.
Most of the adolescent boys and girls have been working to raise awareness among their family members, relatives, neighbours, friends, Union Parishad members and chairmen regarding trafficking in women and children. Most of the girls are campaigning among primary and secondary school boys and girls to combat trafficking in women and children. Some of the boys and girls posted leaflets and posters on the wall of different schools others requested teachers and imams (religious leaders) to play positive role to raise awareness among common people regarding trafficking in women and children. Girls have been organizing courtyard meetings in their areas.
National Workshop on Trafficking in Women and Children: Challenges and Strategies
A one-day National Workshop on Trafficking in Women and Children: Challenges and Strategies was organized by Centre for Women and Children Studies on 27 August 2003 at Dhaka. The main purposes of the workshop were to disseminate information on the present situation of trafficking in the 8 northern districts of Bangladesh, sharing the experiences and lessons learnt to combat trafficking in women and children by the lead organizations (NGOs) of eight northern districts of Bangladesh, recommendations to combat trafficking and sharing the experiences of adolescent campaigners and highlighting their activities undertaken at grassroots level to combat trafficking.
Md. Shahidul Haque, Regional Representative of International Organization for Migration (IOM) graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest, Ms. Anne Marchal, Second Secretary of the Delegation of the European Commission to Bangladesh was the Special Guest with Dr. Khaleda Salahuddin, eminent economist and Advisor of CWCS in the Chair. Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President of Centre for Women and Children Studies presented the three years activity report of the project.
Counter Trafficking School Campaign Among School Children in Dhaka started from December 2003 to August 2004 with the financial assistance of the the Autralian High Commission, Dhaka. The objective of the project were to increase the level of awareness on the issue of trafficking among school children, teachers, parents/guardians and police officers in the areas covered by two police stations namely Ramana and Dhanmondi Thanas of Dhaka Metropolitan.
Consultation Meeting for Counter Trafficking Campaign Among the School Children in Dhaka
A half-day Consultation Meeting for Counter Trafficking Campaign Among the School Children in Dhaka was held on 25 January 2004 at Dhaka. The Consultation Meeting was attended by 46 participants comprising of thana education officer, teachers, guardians, members of school managing committee and police officials. In the Inaugural Session Her Excellency Lorraine Barker, High Commissioner, Australian High Commission was present as the Chief Guest and Mr. Shahidul Haque, Regional Representative of IOM as the Special Guest with Dr. Khaleda Salahuddin, Advisor of CWCS in the Chair. The main objective was for sharing views and opinions relating to trafficking and ways to successfully carry out the school campaigns. In the Consultation Meeting, participants shared their views and opinions about the issue of child trafficking and put forward their recommendations to carry out the campaigns program successfully.
Orientation Session with Police Personnel on Child Trafficking
Two half-day Orientation Session on Child Trafficking for Police Officials was organized by Centre for Women and Children Studies with the financial assistance of the Australian High Commission at Ramna and Dhanmondi Police Station of Dhaka Metropolitan, on 17 and February 2004. The Orientation Sessions was attended by 47 participants comprising of Sub-Inspectors, Assistant-Sub Inspectors and Constables.
The main objectives of these sessions were to aware the police about the various issues related child trafficking such as definition, causes, mechanisms, consequences, and strategies to combat trafficking. Also the counter trafficking messages of the BCC materials were shared. Police orientation would provide the scope to liaison with the police and also to invite them during the school campaigns so that school authorities as well as school children feel free to approach the police whenever need arises.
Counter Trafficking School Campaigns
Centre for Women and Children Studies conducted Counter Trafficking School Campaigns at 20 School of Ramna and Dhanmondi Police stations to aware the school children about the various issues related child trafficking such as definition, causes, mechanisms, consequences, and strategies to combat trafficking. The pictures and messages of the flyer for children were projected onto a large screen and the children were asked to read out the short script so that they could become familiar with the mechanisms of trafficking and what preventive measures can be taken, as well as the relevant section of the national laws and the Article related to trafficking in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. The flyer depicted a child being taken away by a trafficker whilst in the playground, then showed the positive role played by the police as the children go to report that their friend has been taken. The flyer shows the police official immediately going with the children to rescue the girl and then arrest the trafficker. The children were then asked to make comments on this, ask questions and share any incident of child trafficking that they know of.
Also the counter trafficking messages of the BCC materials were shared and distributed among the school children and teachers. Police Officials from Ramna and Dhanmondi police stations shared their experiences with the students as resource persons. Also T-Shirts were distributed to school children with anti-trafficking messages.
Experience Sharing Seminar on Counter Trafficking Campaign
Centre for Women and Children Studies organized a Experience Sharing Seminar on Counter Trafficking Campaign at BIAM Auditorium on 25 July 2004 with the financial assistance of the Australian High Commission. About 73 participants from different professional groups like teachers, guardians, students, NGOs, donor agencies, government officials and journalists were present the seminar.
Her Excellency Lorraine Barker, High Commissioner, The Australian High Commission was present in the Seminar as the Chief Guest and Rina Sen Gupta, National Program Officer of International Organization for Migration was Special Guest with Prof. Latifa Akanda, Advisor of CWCS in the chair. Prof. Ishrat Shamim, President of CWCS shared the experiences of the Counter Trafficking School Campaign project.
The project entitled Pilot Project on Advocacy to Combat Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking in Satkhira district was initiated in November 2007 - March 2009 with the financial assistance of the ANESVAD Foundation.
Project goal and objectives:
To combat sexual exploitation and trafficking in women and children through capacity building of grassroots level organizations, law enforcing agencies, local leaders, teachers, journalists and members of the community and forming Community Watch Committees (CWCs) to support the victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking.
Project activities that have been undertaken:
The protect titled ‘Advocacy to Enhance and Implement the Legal Framework of All Forms of Human Trafficking’ being undertaken in 3 districts namely Dhaka, Lalmonirhat and Kurigram districts from February 2010- January 2011 with the support of USAID/Winrock International. A series of workshops were held at district and upazila levels to identify the types/purposes of trafficking, routes of trafficking, modus operandi, assessing the numbers of last ten years, weaknesses in implementation of existing laws related to trafficking and recommendations to fill up the gaps in implementing existing national legislation of human trafficking and to formulate a comprehensive law against human trafficking in line with UN Palermo Protocol. A division level consultation was held at Rangpur with the division level stakeholders to get recommendations on draft comprehensive law against human trafficking formulated by the Implementation Committee under the with leadership of Ministry of Home Affairs with the participation of Divisional Commissioner, Rangpur, Deputy Commissioner Rangpur, police officials, lawyers and journalists. At the end, a national seminar was held on Concerted Efforts towards formulating of the Comprehensive Law against Human Trafficking: Next Steps for Implementation at Dhaka to was to synchronize all of the existing initiatives of advocacy partners of ACT program on the Comprehensive Law to suppress Trafficking in Persons and create the political will for reflection of the grassroots level recommendations in the draft comprehensive law formulated by Ministry of Home Affairs and adoption of the Comprehensive Law against trafficking in persons in line with UN Palermo Protocol.
A number of grassroots level recommendations have been incorporated in the Draft Comprehensive Law against Human Trafficking given below: