Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) hosted a bilateral virtual Indo-Nepal Dialogue on Trafficking of Children Across Borders on Human Rights Day, 10th December 2020 along with Swatantra Abhiyaan and Backward Society Education (BASE) Nepal.
The Keynote address was given by Nobel Peace Laureate and BBA Founder Kailash Satyarthi, who said, “The children in India and Nepal are suffering from the effects of the pandemic. With rising poverty and unemployment, along with school closures, they are at a higher risk of trafficking, both within borders and across the border. Both countries must recognise and prevent this. Next year is the UN Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. It is an opportunity to work together and take urgent and collective action. I urge the government officers, law enforcement and civil society of India and Nepal to join the campaign to end child labour. As I always have, I count on Nepal to lead this fight for children”.
The Indo-Nepal dialogue brought together multiple stakeholders including law enforcement officials, civil society organizations, child survivors and research institutions from both countries. The dignitaries present pledged to collectively work towards ironing out the roadblocks in the repatriation and rehabilitation of victims of cross-border trafficking. They pressed on the urgent need for governments in both India and Nepal to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which may be designed in a manner similar to the MoU signed by India and Myanmar on bilateral cooperation for Prevention of Trafficking in Persons.
The speakers used this platform to discuss the issue of cross border trafficking, focusing on the adverse effects of the pandemic, while aiming at tangible solutions to eliminate cross border trafficking. They also spoke of the need for a portal on traffickers which can be used by law enforcement agencies of both countries.
The event saw the participation of Mr Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary Member of Parliament, Lumbini Province and president of BASE with Nepal and Indian parliamentarians like Mr Krishan Devaryulu Lavu, MP and Mr Ravi Prakash Verma, Convenor – Parliamentary forum on Children, Dr Milan Dharel, Executive Director, National Child Right Council, Nepal, Mr Amodh Kanth, Former Chairperson DCPCR and General Secretary Prayas, Mr Surabh Tripathi, IG SSB India and Ms Goma Devi, Under Secretary Ministry of Women, Child and Senior Citizen Nepal amongst other dignitaries.
The deliberations focussed on grooming and modus operandi of trafficking, as well as the rehabilitation and repatriation of victims of trafficking. Some of the pressing challenges faced by victims of trafficking including the inapplicability of Indian laws in Nepal, challenges in prosecution by Indian courts, difficulty in transferring the rehabilitation package to the victims and inability of government officials to send the victims to shelter homes in Nepal were also discussed in detail.
Child survivors Arbind and Srijana who were rescued from child labour by Bachpan Bachao Andolan and BASE respectively spoke on this occasion and shared their personal accounts.
Arbind Kumar a survivor of child labour, who currently works as an activist with Bachpan Bachao Andolan said, “If we are unable to secure a child’s present, then how do we expect children to be the future of this country? There is an urgent need to take stringent action against trafficking. We want Surakshit Bachpan, Surakshit Bharat and Surakshit Nepal.”
Srijana Tharu, a survivor of trafficking from Nepal was forced her to go to Kathmandu to work as domestic help due to her family’s poor economic condition. She was rescued by BASE Nepal who helped her enrol to school. Today, she has returned home to Rati, Harihar Bhawan and is studying in 7th grade.
About Bachpan Bachao Andolan
Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) is India’s largest movement for the protection of children spearheaded by Nobel Peace Laureate Shri Kailash Satyarthi and his associates in the year 1980. Ever since its inception, it has been waging a relentless war against all forms of violations of child rights notably child trafficking, child servitude and rescued more than 90,000 children.
BASE is not only NGO but a social movement in Nepal. It is not only involved in the development work, but also in raising a voice for the rights of indigenous and economically backward people. BASE raises a strong voice against exploitation, injustice and deprivation. The Nepal Education March led by BASE saw the participation of non-profits, civil society organizations, private sector, media and helped raise funds education, rescued child labours and enrolled in school. The movement led by BASE to liberate bonded labour (Kamaiya) system in the country, consequently saw the liberation and rehabilitation of more than 300,000 Kamaiyas. BASE also campaigned for the abolition of child labour and Kamlahari (bonded girls worker) system.
About Swatantra Abhiyaan
Swatantrata Abhiyan Nepal is a Nepalese non-governmental organization that works for the justice and end of impunity; for the end of deprivation through developmental activities together with the government. They run campaigns against all forms of discrimination and slavery-like practices. The organization is non-political, non-partisan, secular and mandated to work all over Nepal.