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Location

3 wards of Kolkata city & 2 districts (through schools) in West Bengal
Thematic Focus: Protection


Project Background:

SANLAAP was formally registered under societies registration act in the year of 1989. SANLAAP is now known even outside of India for its work related to changing situations of many children and young women who were trafficked within their own country and beyond borders for commercial sexual abuse and violence. Initially its main focus was to work for girl children and women exploited in sex trafficking industry. Later on SANLAAP decided to involve in policy advocacy initiatives for protection of children. It has four core areas of work and accordingly designs its program under four broad areas such as:

  • Prevention of trafficking, especially for commercial sexual exploitation of women & children.
  • Prevention of second generation prostitution through facilitating services for women in need, and capacity building of Community Based Organizations (CBOs) emerging to work on child protection and welfare of children and women rescued / escaped from violence or trafficking.
  • Reintegration and mainstreaming of trafficking survivors.
  • Advocacy on issues related to rights of the child.

Problem Statement:


In the state of West Bengal issues of child protection, especially trafficking and child marriage assumes enormous proportion due to the geographical location of the state, having porous international border with mountain locked Nepal & Bhutan in north, riverine Bangladesh in east and seas in south. The state is highly vulnerable to inter-state and cross border trafficking of children and women by unscrupulous elements. The child protection issues are also made severe by many local socio-economic factors. Considering and comparing the rural population’s per capita income with that of urban, the former with limited earning capacity in poverty makes people, especially girl child and women, susceptible to traffickers. Many guardians look at children as a source to supplement the family income and hardly think of issues like importance of education for children, gender discrimination, unsafe migration without sufficient information and the perils of sending a child for work to unknown destinations which effectively assists in commissioning offence of trafficking. Children in the state are trafficked primarily for labor and sexual exploitation. Accordingly to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 44% of victims of trafficking were associated with the state of West Bengal, nearly 75% of them were under the age of 18 years and 85% of them were women. Similarly, nearly 80% of the victims of trafficking rescued were under 18 years old and over 83% were women. However, the effective judicial process is insignificant as can be understood from the conviction of only 11 people out of 1,795 charge sheeted against arrest of 1,847. On the other hand, the court had acquitted 224 people. Hardly 30% cases get charge sheets filled in low crime reporting scenarios and conviction rate is less than 10% according to the same report. It amplifies the fact that access to justice for trafficked survivors is an area that needs to be seriously addressed. The non-engagement of the survivors in the entire judiciary process results in absence of ownership in the process which results in children looking at the court procedures as a burden.

Marriage has been one of the guises for trafficking. About 54% minor girls in West Bengal get married before the legal age of marriage as per DLHS 2007-08. The vulnerability of the guardians and the girl are exploited by the traffickers. Social customs, tradition, ignorance, poverty and security for the girl perpetuate child marriage over the generations, impeding the development of the girl child. Limitations have been observed among both the duty bearers and right holders. The laws are inadequate, which are further weakened by ineffective enforcement by untrained functionaries at different levels. The ineffective juvenile justice system, lack of convergence among the existing social protection schemes, inadequate budgetary provision, lack of provision of rehabilitation of the rescued children, minimal prosecution, procedural delays in prosecution play their part in perpetuating the injustice against children. The patriarchal values, socio-cultural acceptance of child marriage, diverse socio-cultural and economic conditions, lack of access to education, lack of job opportunity and livelihood insecurity, lack of awareness of community on the redressing mechanism and lack of information on available systems to address the issue, limitations of RTE Act to provide free education to children up to the age of 18 years, impact of globalization and modernization resulting a dream of having a better and secure life among the adolescents are the bedrock on which the children had been becoming victims of trafficking and child marriage. Children growing up in the red light areas of Kolkata are vulnerable to a host of child rights violations, stigma and discrimination which often renders them to be reliant on the red light economy on the rebound. The absence of involvement of the urban governance structures for addressing the issues of child protection through convergence and planning results in worsening of the situation of violations.

Achievements & Impact


Key Result Area:Ensure full retention in schools.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Providing special coaching support to vulnerable children from 3 RLAs (red light areas) to ensure their retention & completion of school final examination

* 116 children attending the DIC children have passed in year-end examinations and have been promoted to the next class.
* Out of the 5 children who appeared for Madhyamik (class 10th school board exam), 1 boy passed in 2nd division; while another boy and 3 girls passed in 3rd division.
* Out of the 5 boys who appeared for senior secondary (12th school board examination) 3 passed in 2nd division while 2 passed in 3rd division.


Key Result Area: Change in behavioral pattern of 45 youth who are vulnerable to drop out from school would lead to increased retention in schools; youth groups would be functional to act as vigilant group for identifying vulnerable children in the community – towards creating a safer environment

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Organize and strengthen youth groups.
* Conduct life skills building sessions for grooming youth
* Visualization exercise with the collective for addressing child protection issues
* Mapping of positive initiatives undertaken by youth.
* Sharing of the Mapping of vulnerability in red-light areas by adolescents with guardians, WLCPC members and related stakeholders.
* Involvement of children in sports for change sessions.
* Involvement of girls from Khidirpur in the football sessions
* Mapping of changes observed through engagement of children in Sports (both football and badminton)

* Youth Groups comprising 60 members have been formed in the 3 Red Light Areas and have been engaged with for strengthening the youth members. An intensive immersion program has been conducted with 15 youth group members.
* Visualization and planning exercise has been undertaken with the Youth Group members basis which they developed a plan for undertaking events in their areas.
* Mapping of positive initiatives by youth has been done, and report preparation is under progress.
* The findings of the vulnerability assessment undertaken by the youth groups with 300 children were used in intergenerational dialogues to address the vulnerabilities shared by children. The findings have been shared with ward councillors and police.
* 12 sessions of intergenerational dialogues have been undertaken with only the guardians while 6 sessions have been undertaken where both parents and children were there. The dialogues helped in relaxing the impositions on children with regards to allowing girls to play.
* 155 children and youth (95 male and 60 female) have been engaged in sports for development programs where they are playing football to break gender stereotypes and enhance access to public spaces especially for girls.
* 17 children are attending year long coaching, preparing for Junior Badminton Champion, to strengthen their self-esteem and scope for them to pursue sports as a career.
* 6 children are receiving scholarships and were awarded the scholarship by ace champion P.V. Sindhu.


Key Result Area: Preventive Approach: Introduction of Digital Medium in Prevention and Capacity Building with school students engaged through Sanlaap’s programs in South and North 24 Parganas

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Selection and development of content for 24 sessions, translation and dubbing of the same in Bangla with help of volunteers and Gram Vaani for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR) * Finalising the name of the IVR & setting up Whatsapp number of SCPCR along with the vetting of content and launching of the IVR * Training for Sanlaap and other project staff in Ranchi to develop understanding on technical aspects of IVR and ways in which Community mobilization can be strengthened using IVR. * Conduct sessions on trafficking, prevention and promotion of IVR for awareness and promotion of disclosure in schools of North & South 24.

* Content has been developed for 25 sessions on CSA and related areas of Child Protection. Recording has been completed for the prompts, KAP and content on CSA through Gram Vaani and support from volunteers who did the dubbing. * The Whatsapp helpline number was agreed upon by WBCPCR to be used for the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). The IVR has been linked to the Commission’s Whatsapp helpline number. The launching date for the IVR named ‘Kholakhuli Katha Boli’ will be finalized by SCPCR after small technical glitches with the phone number are sorted out. * Training has been conducted for Sanlaap staffs, DIKSHA, Praajak and SCPCR staffs on the IVR in Ranchi to make them acquainted with the IVR, moderation, recording and uploading content. * The achievement in taking forward the IVR with the Commission is initiation of integration of the budget for the next year for developing ownership on the IVR by the Commission. It has been placed and the queries have been responded to and explained. The Chairperson has verbally consented to take it forward. * Sessions have also been undertaken in 15 schools with 3,277 children of classes VII to X to increase awareness amongst students and teachers’ on Trafficking leading to creation of spaces for disclosure of potential cases of vulnerable children. The IVR areas have also been discussed in these sessions.


Key Result Area: Change in Children’s perception about Police from fear to protectors developed through greater interaction and participation.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Organize interactive sessions /events with the police & children of RLAs through exposure visits & interactions with Watgunj & 2 other Police Stations.
* Reporting cases of CR violations to Police for redressal.
* Organize events jointly with Police to involve children & related adults under Football Match, Drawing, Outing or similar activities.

* One joint action event was organized through stalls during the Pujo where Police and children demonstrated / conducted activities for awareness building on safety of children. 6 sets of materials developed by children in Bangla and Hindi were distributed.
* 3 Interactive sessions have been held with Police, Youth leaders and Children in the 3 centers.
* Reporting is being undertaken through adults. Adolescents and children are not reporting directly though. A document on change in perception and action is being prepared.
* Police attended the football match held on 31st Dec’19 as part of the annual cultural event held in ward 26 along with the Ward Councilor and football club coaches.


Key Result Area: Prosecution & Rehabilitation and Reintegration: Institutionalization of good practices on prosecution, rehabilitation & reintegration related experiences by government departments

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Conduct study on efficacy of economic reintegration of trafficked survivors in North & South 24 Parganas with 20 survivors each in North and South 24 Parganas.
* Advocate for strengthening legal framework for victims compensation.

* 25 traffic survivors have been interviewed in South 24 Pargana district from local NGO Samadhan’s intervention area. And, in North 24 Parganas district, the survey interview is under progress with the Dhagagia Social Welfare Society. The preliminary findings reveal that the community finds local trade to be more viable for them than learning some skills earlier, which means the idea of life skills would need investing. Similarly, awareness of victim compensation is seen to be low.
* Two consultations were organized on victims’ compensation for trafficked survivors from different countries, to advocate for developing legal frameworks on this. One was organized jointly by NLSA (National Legal Service Authority), Prajwala and the American Consulate. The second consultation was organized by BBA (Bengal Bar Association) and SLSA (State Legal Service Authority).


Key Result Area: Developing a learning platform for CRY partners working on trafficking

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

Supporting CRY’s partners and programs in Manipur working on Trafficking through providing support in developing SOP in the line of Operational Guidelines on rescue, safe return, repatriation and integration (RRRI) of women and child victims of trafficking & cross border movement.

* One-day workshop was organized by Sanlaap in collaboration with Manipur Alliance for Child Rights for the police officials, civil society organization members and representatives of the child protection system. It was attended by the chairperson Manipur Human Rights Commission, Inspector General of Police (Zone1) while 33 participants attended the consultative workshop. This program aimed to ensure enhanced understanding of the police officials in framing the charge sheet against the accused on child trafficking issue in Manipur context. This program also aimed to ensure an enhanced knowledge base of the police officials in respect to the good practices adopted by the police in other parts of the country for ensuring justice to the trafficked families. This program paved the way forward to create an active legal support network at local level involving all relevant stakeholders who can ensure justice to the survivors and their families.
* The SOP for inter-country repatriation has been drafted, and the area of prosecution was taken up as the topic needing deliberation.


Key Result Area: Functional youth groups who can act as vigilant group for identifying vulnerable children in the community and help children in need with adult supervision – in creating safer environments.

Program Activities Planned Progress and Achievements

* Rolling out the CRY Child Center’s module on life skills and child protection / education with the children attending the drop in centers through contextual development of the module in Bangla.
* Mapping of cases where children and youth have taken positive decisions.
* Meeting with mothers to sensitize them about the relevant portion of parenting & life skills, and govt. schemes.
* Mapping of positive decisions undertaken by parents

* 9 children were prevented and rescued from trafficking.
* 9 children were rescued from child labor.
* 17 cases of children rescued from trafficking and labor were mainstreamed into formal education.
* 28 children saved from child marriage.
* Life skills sessions conducted on agency of self, anger management & management of emotions, negotiation, problem solving, decision making, gender discrimination, and violence in 15 schools with 3277 children of classes VII to X.
* 15 cases of adolescents and youth having demonstrated positive changes through their own effort, help and support from the youth members, Sanlaap staff and adults of the community have been reported.

Highlights of technical and capacity building inputs:


In addition to scheduled guidance and monitoring, CRY focused on 3 areas to strengthen the processes with the Government and the Statutory Body like West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights in the year:
I. CRY facilitated the new domain of Interactive Voice Response in the programming of Sanlaap. This was taken ahead with the engagement with a convergence between the identified technical partner Gram Vaani, obtaining the permission from the SCPCR (State Commission for Protection of Child Rights) for using their Whatsapp helpline number for the IVR, capacitating the partner on the content development, KAP (knowledge, attitude and practices) study and preparing the prompt. Going another step forward, the process of making SCPCR accept the need for integrating the cost in their budget for the next year was also another process that CRY undertook.
II. Collaboration with the DRDC (District Rural Development Centre), North 24 Parganas district for their support to trafficked survivors crossing 18 years age for linking them (as collectives) with the government scheme of Ananda Dhara (Self Help Groups) with focus to their economic empowerment will aid in the social integration of trafficked survivors where the component of economic reintegration is an important aspect. In the continuum of empowerment of trafficked survivors crossing from adolescence to adulthood, the economic stronghold of the survivors through this program can provide scope for taking it up as good practice and scalability.

Sports as a medium of development – the game changer


Children reported improvement in lives after joining sessions on sports. Some of the areas of improvements are:
* There is enhanced physical growth which is mapped by the coach;
* Mental agility and self-efficacy: the aspect of speaking out, whether it is a game they have been asked to play or they are playing on their own volition, they are bringing other children;
* In Khidirpur where previously girls were not allowed to play without leggings and their head covered. After exposure to sports events, the children have become motivated and are able to resist such diktats. They sought for more days of practice and they were able to convince their parents to ask them to come to the ground and play.
* Parents have been able to stave off the pressure from the community and let the girls play wherein mothers are playing a bigger role in such decisions. They were also having a worry of financial burden which, on getting it through the scholarship and networking support, is making them relent to the wishes of the children.
* The sight of gender segregated sports activities among children have reduced.
* The engagements are also leading to parents opening up in other spaces such as allowing the children to study in higher classes, accompanying the children once their classes get over, discussing the relationship of children, especially girls where they are contemplating marriage.
* There is a change in food habits – from fast food to nutritious food on their own choice.

Plans


Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Intervention in 3 RLA's on Preventive Approach to

* Providing special coaching support to vulnerable children from 3 RLAs & ward 26 to ensure their retention & completion of school final exam. * Conduct life skills sessions based on CRY Child Center’s modules, to groom 30 youth, with focus on leadership skills building. Also, roll out the module among other children visiting the drop in centers, with emphasis on child protection, education, through contextual development of the module in Bengali. * Mapping of 30 cases (10 from each field area) where children and youth have made decisions impacting in their lives positively. * Organize intergenerational dialogues and meetings with 30 youth for developing articulation and leadership abilities for addressing child rights violations and issues before adults. * Involvement of both boys and girl children in “Sports for Change” sessions from 3 RLA’s. Develop ‘Sports as a tool for empowerment’ through mapping of change in children playing football and badminton.

Introduction of digital medium in prevention and capacity building with school students.

* Conduct next level training for Sanlaap, SCPCR and urban partner staffs in Ranchi for better understanding of the IVR (moderation, content creation, and the backend processes) * Conduct 8 grooming programs with the children and youth for developing a pool of expert speakers to address the problems put forth by the callers/ share their story of change. * Assessment of the IVR calls with Gram Vaani and SCPCR for inclusion of additional content, sharing of report and work on areas of further improvement including content development in Bengali IVR. * Conduct sessions on child protection with focus on CSA & trafficking prevention, promotion of IVR for awareness, and promotion of disclosure in schools of Kolkata, North and South 24 Parganas for classes VII to X.



Key Result Areas Program Activities Planned

Advocacy on effective “Community Policing”

* Meeting with the community policing wing of Kolkata Police for identifying the scope of appropriate community policing schemes and better utilization of the child friendly corner. * Organize events in partnership with police to involve children and related adults under a football match, drawing, outing or similar activities. * Documentation of children’s perception towards police through case stories, drawings and anecdotes.

Prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration ensuring social inclusion.

* Consultative sharing of the social reintegration study and the scopes of convergence with DCRT, SRLM, Utkarsha Bangla, SLSA/DLSA, Education (Kanyashree linkage), SCPCR with 20 survivors each in North and South 24 Pargana districts. * Formation of survivors group in North and South 24 Parganas. * Facilitate survivor enrolment in school through engagement with the families, schools, and Children Welfare Committee (CWC). * Exploring linkage with Anwesha Clinic (rehabilitation center) for the possibility of traffickers availing the services. Provide psychological support to the survivors’ group members and their families. * Organise street theatre & puppetry in the haat (local market) days / melas /Yuva Utsab/ Festivals organized at block and Panchayats to highlight the stigma and discrimination faced by trafficked survivors. * Engagement with District Rural Development Cell (DRDC) of North and South 24 Parganas districts for empowerment and rehabilitation of group of survivors.

Developing a Learning platform for CRY partners working on trafficking.

* Supporting CRY’s partners and programs in Manipur working on Trafficking through providing support in developing sustainable program on capacity building of police and other stakeholders fir ensuring justice to victims of child trafficking in the line of Operational Guidelines on rescue, safe return, repatriation and integration (RRRI) of women and child victims of trafficking.

Financial Summary: January to December 2020


Budget Breakup 2020

Protection

20,103

75%

Administration

6,800

25%

Total Grant Approved

26,903

100%

Case Story: 1


In Bowbazar, a girl aged 16 years promoted to class IX was in a relationship. Her parents wanted her to get married as the family was not financially solvent. The mother is a domestic help while the father is a daily wage earner. One brother is younger to her and is an occasional child labor for bringing cigarette and looking after shoes in temples. She was always hooked to her phone (speaking to the person who is working in Gujarat) for which the parents asked her to get married. She along with her cousins attended Sanlaap sessions and her cousins told her to concentrate on her studies instead of focusing on the relationship. She has a tendency of epilepsy for which the parents couldn’t use force. She saw reason when her cousins and also the team of Sanlaap motivated her. She has enrolled in football along with her brother. There is domestic violence in the family also while privacy is one major issue because of space constraint. She has changed and is concentrating on her studies. She has regulated her time for speaking to her lover. She has made up her mind that she will sit for her Madhyamik (class 10th board examination) and thereafter think of marriage. Her elder brother’s death also brought in a change in the dealing with their children and they started giving attention to the children, the father has reduced drinking also.

Case Story: 2


A girl of 12 years from Khidirpur was sent to Bilaspur during the Junior Badminton Championship (JBC 5) practice. The parents wanted her to get married or sell her. She had attended the life skills sessions of Sanlaap after which her reactions appeared to create problems in the village and also reported her case to the Police. The mother now drops the child to the center where she also plays badminton and her family have not taken any move for getting her married. Her mother is into prostitution and belongs to the community where they sell their girls and make a living from their earnings (they are called Bilaspurni who are akin to Agrawalis and Murshidabadi. There are around 20 families in Khidirpur). The change could be possible because of the empowerment in the child in which the life skills sessions contributed a lot.

Case Story: 3


Sushmita Shaw is now playing in the Junior Badminton Championship (JBC 6). Her mother was a chukhri for which she had to give away all her earnings to the owner. She could not provide necessities for her child. The girl was brought into the center of Sanlaap. The mother fell ill suddenly and suddenly disappeared. Sushmita had to look after other children of chukris and was prevented from coming to Sanlaap center. She was stopped from attending the center when Sushmita strongly opposed and said why she needs to look after other children and not go to Sanlaap’s center. She was gradually allowed to attend the center. The madam later claimed that it was her daughter and she would like to take the child away. Sanlaap challenged it and kept her in the crisis center. Sushmita is now attending the JBC practice.