We thought that human trafficking and slavery were realities from by gone years. However today, millions of people are victims of this trade. Two thirds are women and 80% of those suffer sexual exploitation. In India, Singapore, the Philippines, Japan, Germany, and Austria, our sisters work to prevent, welcome, accompany, and reintegrate these victims who are women like us.
To bring about the Good News to the Poor, the F.M.M. Sisters at Kansabel Convent, Delhi province, India, have ventured into another new service in favour of women and young girls of the region who are being trafficked to other parts of the country and abroad for the purposes of domestic service, cheap child labour, or for commercial sex exploitation. This dimension was added to the already existing mission of “Jeevan Jharna Vikas Sanstha (JJVS)”, a registered NGO.
Two FMMs wholly involved in this mission share:
We realized how fast the danger was spreading especially for thousands of our young people, mostly women and children. We began focusing our attention on the traffickers who transport young poor tribal girls from the interior villages, to the cities, in the name of jobs, financial security and other promises of wealth and well-being. Unwittingly the poor starving villagers accept the offer, but most of them are forced into prostitution. Our former Chhattisgarh chief minister said in a recent statement, that from Jashpur alone, over 20,000 girls belonging to Chhattisgarh's tribal region had been sold by human traffickers in the last eight years into metropolis like Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore
and Chennai in the name of jobs and training.
Sr. Sheeba Antony addressing the gathering and Sr. Annie Jesus Mary participating at the workshop
Considering this plight, we began tracking down the traffickers. Our concern in this mission quickly caught the interest of both the Government and the Non-Government officials of the region. In May 2012, for the first time the State Government invited us (JJVS) to participate in the workshop on “Antihuman Trafficking”. At this Public gathering of about 230 Government and likeminded Non Government officials, Sr. Annie Jesus fmm, spoke about the activities of JJVS, and its current focus on anti-human trafficking. This was the beginning of a strong link between us FMMs, our Organization JJVS, local officials, the police, the philanthropists and other persons who work for the poor. This increased our courage to forge ahead.
Rescue Operation in Collaboration with the Police Force:
Just to cite one example: we along with the local police Inspector and his team went to a distant village to rescue 5 Girls who were trafficked to Mumbai. They were between the ages of 15 to 21. The oldest among them, 20 years old, was taking the other four to Mumbai for domestic work. While they were still waiting to board the bus the police nabbed them. The JJVS staff was called to meet and interview the girls. Along with the police we met the girls and counselled them. The parents too were enlightened about the false promises of the agents; the police wrote the report and send the girls back to their homes. All this did not happen in an instant, but the trouble was worth it.
Participation along with the local civil authorities and people
Our involvement in the Village protection committee at Jashpur:
The Government, desiring to make Jashpur a CRIME FREE district, formed a new committee in 2012. It was a rare privilege that we sisters too were included in this group. The role of the members was to reduce crime in the villages and to bridge the gap between the police and the society at large. The members had to be people of character, with commitment and integrity. In June 2012 again, along with the local police team we attended the Conference of the Village Protection Committee and the sisters were given the opportunity to address the large gathering. We spoke about the work in Kansabel related to anti human trafficking. Our sharing generated confidence among the people, and ever since many parents have been coming to seek help to bring back their minor daughters who are already in the major cities. Along with our staff, we also took part in training in June, on anti-human trafficking at the district level. This session was attended by lawyers, social workers, and other NGOs. At this meeting, once again we had an occasion to share about commitment to life, to help the poor, to live with dignity and honour. Our interventions, experiences, and suggestions were appreciated.
An interview with the girls that were rescued
Link with the Villagers to reinforce our efforts:
We are happy that we have the tremendous support of the civil authority and also that of the local village community. Of late it is the villagers themselves who contact us when they come to know of any untoward incident. This speeds up our work, as we can easily get help to trap them right on time. These things happen in the middle of the night, and we have to venture out not without a small risk. But the reward of such risk is very heart warming, that we have saved innocent lives. This mission needs your support in prayer.
Annie Jesus Mary, fmm
Sheeba Antony, fmm