Church of North India - Anti-Human Trafficking Programme

THE CHURCH OF NORTH INDIA (CNI): ANTI-HUMAN TRAFFICKING PROGRAMME

CNI’s Diocese of Durgapur launched its Anti-Human Trafficking Programme in 2011, under the leadership of the Rt Rev’d Bishop Probal Kanto Dutta. The programme is based in Kaliaganj, in the state of West Bengal. It operates in three districts: North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda.

The main objective of the programme is to spread awareness about human trafficking and show local people how they can protect themselves and others from getting trapped. The border region between India and Bangladesh is a well-known hotspot for illegal immigration. Many people cross the border without the necessary papers because they believe they will have more job opportunities or better-quality farming land on the other side. It is this promise of a better life that traffickers use to lure susceptible people.

Durgapur Diocese is located close to the border, so churches in the diocese witness first-hand the devastation and pain the trafficking of humans causes. The programme stems from CNI’s belief that service to God should extend beyond the confines of one’s church and be of help to people outside it.

The programme conducts awareness campaigns and rescue missions, and it has built a network with local government and law officials. It organises workshops and camps at which experts in trafficking-related issues explain the various ways human traffickers work and the reasons victims get pulled in. One of the main reasons is poverty; other factors include corruption, civil unrest and a lack of access to education or jobs.

The programme also has a focus on promoting gender equality. It highlights child marriage, which can often lead to trafficking of girls and young women, and it collaborates with women’s self-help groups to make people aware of the various livelihood programmes and schemes offered by the government.