Riding on the success of a project to tackle human trafficking and prevent child marriage in two districts of the state, the West Bengal government has decided to spread the scheme to other districts as well, state minister Shashi Panja said on Tuesday.
Initiated by the West Bengal Police, the Swayangsiddha project was launched in 2016 in Jalpaiguri district of north Bengal and South 24 Parganas in the south.
“It has been quite successful in Jalpaiguri and South 24 Parganas. Now we have decided to activate the Swayangsiddha in all the districts from now on,” Panja said.
The project envisions empowering young girls and boys with knowledge and skills so that they are able to make informed choices and become less vulnerable to violation of their rights.
Swayangsiddha Groups have been formed in schools and colleges with interested students in the age group of 12 to 21 years. Child Protection Committee is monitoring and guiding these groups.
Panja said many girls of the state are trafficked after falling prey to offers to work in other states.
In order to keep a check on that, the state government has also prepared a draft bill, Panja told reporters after attending a workshop on implementation of the state’s plan of action against human trafficking.
Meanwhile, senior state CID officer Ajey Mukund Ranade said around 1,000 girls were rescued from being trafficked from West Bengal since the scheme was launched in 2016.
“Around 3,000 traffickers have also been arrested in this period of two years. We have been able to raise the awareness level of at least 2 lakh students studying in 500 schools,” Ranade said.