Day 2: Maharashtra Government pledges to end trafficking @ICWT2017

The second day of the conference consisted of two plenary sessions and three panel discussions. The day began with the plenary session on, “The Rule of Law and Criminal Justice in Ending Human Trafficking”. The speakers at the session were, Retd. Director General of Police, Maharashtra, Mr. Praveen Dixit; Dr. P.M Nair, (Retd. IPS) Chair Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences; Mrs. Sharon Cohn Wu, Senior Vice President, IJM and Lt. Col. Aroon Promphan, Anti-Trafficking in Persons, Division, Thailand. Mrs. Cohn Wu shared how measurable reductions in trafficking were indeed possible through a diligent and collaborative law enforcement response, as demonstrated in IJM’s projects combating child sex trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines. She closed by saying, “I look forward to the day I can stand here with you together and say that human trafficking is no more.”

This was followed by the panel discussion on, “Ending Impunity for Trafficking Crimes”. The moderator for the discussion was Judge Swati Chauhan, Family Court Pune, and the panelists were, Addl. Director General of Police, Planning and Coordination, Maharashtra, Mr. V.V. Laxminarayan; Prof. Irudya Rajan, Centre for Development Studies India; Secretary of Law and Judiciary, Government of Maharashtra, Mr. N.J. Jamadar; Ms. Janet Francisco, Chief of National Bureau of Investigation and Anti-Human Trafficking Division, Manila, Philippines.

The second plenary session of the day was on “Restoring Freedom and Empowering Victims of Human Trafficking”. The speakers at the session included two survivors of Human Trafficking. The discussion was initiated by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, Chief Functionary, Prajwala, who was appreciative in saying, “This is the most historic conference I’ve been to in two decades. For the first time, the judiciary, the police and civil society organizations from all over the world have come together—not only to acknowledge the problem [of human trafficking], but to talk about solutions. I truly believe that this is the kind of convergence that will break the organized crime of human trafficking, because today we are organized to fight it.” Two survivors of trafficking, Sadhana* and Shivamma, who shared their experience of abuse and oppression after Dr. Krishnan. Dr. Prabhu Shankar, IAS, Sub-Collector, Tindivadam, concluded the session. .

This was followed by the panel discussion on, “Evolution of Human Trafficking”, which was moderated by Mr. Brijesh Singh, Director General Information and Publicity, Maharashtra. The panelists were, Officer Liborio Carabbacan, Chief of the Women and Children Protection Centre, Philippines National Police; Mr. Sam Inocencio, National Director, IJM Philippines and Director General of Police, Goa, Mr. Muktesh Chander, IPS.

The Conference was concluded with the panel discussion on, “The Role of Media in the Fight Against Trafficking”. This session was moderated by Ms. Ambika Pandit, Senior Correspondent, Times of India; Mr. R.K Radhakrishnan, Associate Editor, Frontline; Ms. Nita Bhalla, Senior Correspondent, South Asia, Reuters; Mr. Nitesh Tiwari, Film Director and Ms. Nidhi Kamdar, Officer on Special Duty to Office of Chief Minister, Maharashtra.

The Chairperson of the MSCW, Mrs. Vijaya Rahatkar and Mr. Sanjay Macwan, Regional Director, India, IJM addressing the gathering at the close of the Conference. Both shared their gratitude and appreciation for the organisations and individuals involved in making the Conference a success. According to Mr. Macwan, “For the first time, the government of India and of Maharashtra are telling the world that they are ready to lead the fight against trafficking. That itself is a new benchmark set. This conference will not only be an event. After it’s over, the MSCW, IJM and the government of Maharashtra are going to put together a strategic plan to actually achieve deterrence and a decrease in this crime.”

 

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