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Advocacy to Combat Trafficking in Women and Children in the Northern Region of Bangladesh

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:

  • Establishing a network of NGOs working in the eight northern districts of Bangladesh and launching of Traffic Watch Bangladesh-Northern Region (TWB-NR)
  • Awareness Raising Advocacy at district, thana and village levels about trafficking in women and children
  • Research for advocacy to:
    • --    Identify the underlying
    • --    Factors responsible for women and child trafficking.
    • --    Assess the various mechanisms and modes of procurement process used by the traffickers.
    • --    Identify the section of people who are involved with trafficking chain.
    • --    Collect information about trafficking routes use by the traffickers in the eight northern districts.
  • Motivating and training of NGO personnel, youths and adolescents to campaign against trafficking.

 

 

First Year

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.

 

 

 

Second Year

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.

 

 

Third Year

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.

Lessons Learnt

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.