Initiatives for prevention of trafficking and reintegration of trafficked children

As child protection is the core mandate of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS), a number of child protection committees (CPC) – community-based child protection mechanisms – have been formed at the village level (VLCPC), ward level (WLCPC) and block level (BLCPC).

As on December 31, 2017, VLCPCs have been formed in 41,899 villages out of the total of 46,505 villages in the State, WLCPCs in 1,702 out of the 2,900 wards and BLCPCs in 340 out of the 341 blocks. Hence, the Government has covered almost the entire State and the rest would be covered soon.

The first phase of training of the master trainers at the district level on standardised child protection committee (CPC) modules has been completed in all the districts. These master trainers would then train officers at the block level.

The Directorate of Child Rights and Trafficking (DCRT) has undertaken several important initiatives to ensure inter-State and inter-departmental cooperation and coordination in combating trafficking of children.

One such initiative was the formulation of State Plan of Action to Combat and Prevent Human Trafficking (SPAHT) in December 2016. Currently it is being rolled out in the districts of South 24 Parganas and Jalpaiguri, where the incidence of trafficking is considerably high.

Various community awareness programmes have been undertaken at the grassroots level to spread awareness on the issue of trafficking including sensitisation of ICDS workers, school students, teachers, para-legal volunteers, police, etc. Local folk artistes are also trained to spread awareness on human trafficking.

Child-friendly police stations have been set up in Sonarpur and Kulti in South 24 Parganas. Adolescent groups and Kanyashree Clubs have been formed which are working as watchdogs in the communities to prevent human trafficking.

The DCRT gives special emphasis on trafficked victims and matters related to their restoration and repatriation. It also organises continual capacity building of State and district stakeholders on child rights, missing children and trafficked persons.

All these work are overseen by the Women and Child Development and Social Welfare Department.


Child-friendly Police Stations being set up in Bengal

After setting up Women Police Stations across the State, the West Bengal Government is setting another example by forming Child-friendly Police Stations.

As a start-up, some police stations in Kolkata and different districts of the State have been identified. A meeting was held in this regard with the UNICEF officials at Nabanna.  Nine police stations in Kolkata and 29 police stations across the State have been shortlisted initially.

Such police stations will help the children to file their complaints in a friendlier atmosphere. Also, children, who have committed offences, will be dealt according to their age.

The Police Department is framing a guideline for the Child-friendly police stations and will also provide special training to the officers who will be in charge of those. It has been decided that a Child Welfare Officer will be designated in these police stations. A separate register will also be in place for the children who would lodge complaints.

It has been decided that to protect minor girls who have been subjected to sexual assaults, only women officers will speak to the victims. Audio-visual recordings of the complainant’s verbatim accounts will be preserved. In case of juvenile offenders, the identity of the offenders will be kept undisclosed and Juvenile Justice Board will be the first body to be approached in these cases.

Besides administrative measures, infrastructure will be put in place like proper sitting area for children, basic amenities like drinking water, proper toilets. Also, the Child-friendly police stations will organize community programmes to create awareness regarding child security.