US Embassy launches S Asia anti-trafficking network
Kolkata, (PTI): To fight against human trafficking, the US Embassy in Kolkata today launched an initiative to build a strong anti-trafficking network involving NGOs, government and the civil society. A number of NGOs and government representatives from India, Bangladesh and Nepal participated at a conclave to foster new alliances in eradicating trafficking in South Asia. “Through this, we want to bring all groups together under one forum so that they can build a relationship to tackle this issue in a joint way,” Dean R Thompson, US Consul General, Kolkata, told reporters. Stating that America is giving moral support to activists working on anti-trafficking, he said they want the issue to be mainstreamed. The new forum aims at building strategies to achieve the goals of freeing victims, preventing trafficking, and bringing traffickers to justice. Md Tariqul Islam from Bangladeshi NGO Rights Jessore said this has become a regional platform for all of them to sit together and work in close co-ordination with each other as a lot of trafficking happens across the border. For the purpose, US embassy officials said Kolkata is being made a regional hub for their forum due to its proximity to Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh. As a part of this region, West Bengal happens to be a source, destination and transit point for human trafficking. During May, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had met daughters of sex workers, trafficking survivors and activists involved in their rescue and rehabilitation in Kolkata.