State Forum of Headmasters and Headmistresses and IJM host first ever conference to combat human trafficking

State Forum of Headmasters and Headmistresses and IJM host first ever conference to combat human trafficking

Hummingbird News Desk

KOLKATA, 12 FEB: The State Forum of Headmasters and Headmistresses, West Bengal & International Justice Mission (IJM), Kolkata hosted the first ever conference on ‘School As A Centre Of Excellence To Combat Human Trafficking And Early Child Marriage’ at Moulali Yuva Kendra, which was attended by over 200 Headmasters & Headmistresses across 23 districts of West Bengal.

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The conference was addressed by PurnenduBasu, Minister-in-Charge, Department of Technical Education, Training & Skill Development, Government of West Bengal, Smt Ananya Chakraborti Chatterjee, Chairperson, Commission for Protection of Child Rights, West Bengal, Mr Chandan Kr Maity, Headmaster, Krishnachandrapur High School & General Secretary, State Forum of Headmasters & Headmistresses, West Bengal and Mr Saji Philip, Director of Operations, International Justice Mission, Kolkata amongst others.

This Conference was held on 7 February to deliberate on how to instrument schools as centres of excellence to combat human trafficking and early child marriage. It aims to make schools a safe space for children, build support system that the children require and a medium to sip in through community to make community also a safe space for children by engaging through Adolescent group, VLCPC.

“The menace of human trafficking can be curbed through early education, sensitisation and awareness building initiatives amongst the children and their family members. It has been observed in many instances that the children primarily from the rural belts are lured and then forced into sex-trafficking. Hence there has always been a need to educate children, in particular, from early days. Thus, schools will play a major role in influencing the children as well as their family members. Today’s fruitful discussion at this huge congregation of senior teachers will go down a long way in spreading awareness about trafficking and child marriage and we feelit would eventually help in reducing them significantly”, said Mr Saji Philip, Director Of Operations, International Justice Mission, Kolkata.

“Child marriage and human trafficking are two major cause of concerns still existing in today’s society. There is a strong need to propagate anti child trafficking and anti child marriage messaging amongst the children from the school itself. West Bengal has achieved significant decline in school dropouts due to our continuous efforts. With the support and guidance from the IJM team we would now work towards eradicating child marriage and human trafficking from our society”, said Mr Chandan Kr Maity, Headmaster, Krishnachandrapur High School& General Secretary, State Forum of Headmasters & Headmistresses, West Bengal.

Various other issues such as dropouts, lack of sex and gender education, stigmatization and dearth of opportunities after secondary level education that are experienced by the teachers, institutional heads, rural school children and communities and sharingof best practices in order to collaboratively work towards practical and sustainable solution were discussed during the conference.

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