Piloting Community-led Initiatives to Prevent and respond to Child Sexual abuse and Human Trafficking

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Brief Introduction of Project:

In 2021-2022 the consortium of Partners (Pravah, Deoghar, Jharkhand Vikas Parishad, Pakur and Sathee Organization, Godda) conducted a community participatory action research in the three districts of Santhal Pargana namely Dumka, Pakur and Godda to understand the existing vulnerabilities related to children belonging to the indigenous tribes of the region especially in relation to human trafficking and child sexual abuse. The outcome of the action research led to the development of an Action Plan consultation with community people to address the vulnerabilities identified during research. Hence, since 2022, the Consortium Partners are implementing the Action Plan in the mentioned districts. Pravah implementing the Action plan in 20 villages of Shikaripara block, Dumka under the project “Piloting Community-Led Initiatives to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse and Human Trafficking” ensuring- (a) building strong community level institutions (b) Prevention through generating community awareness (c) Effective mechanisms through informed and sensitized duty bearers and service providers and (d) Protection through facilitating direct support services to victim(s) of trafficking, child sexual abuse or any other crime against children.

Supporting Agencies:

FXB International

Duration of Project:

April 2022-March 2026

Project Location:

Shikaripara, Dumka, Jharkhand

Target Beneficiaries:

Tribal (Santhal and PVTGs)

Objective of Project:

The overall aim of the project is to strengthen the child protection system in the Dumka, Jharkhand with special emphasis on the selected 20 villages of Shikaripara to respond and prevent Human Trafficking and Child Sexual Abuse. Through community led intervention program we are reach out directly 20 villages in the Shikaripara block and indirectly through advocacy of project learnings to the entire district.

Impact of Project:

The overall impact of this project will be aimed at the prevention and reduction of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation of vulnerable children from the indigenous tribal communities of the district, with special emphasis on the targeted villages. This project will build a community-led movement that will strengthen systematic and timely responses to children in crisis from relevant stakeholders.

Success Story of the Project:

Case Study: 1
There is a tradition in the Santhal community in which boys keep girls as wives without marrying them and later marrying them.
One such incident took place at Jabardaha village of Shikaripara block. A 19-year-old boy eloped with an 18-year-old and 4-month-old girl with the intention of marrying her to his home. When the family members asked both of them, they said that we love each other and want to be together. The parents agreed to the son's wish. Now the matter has come for the marriage of both. The mother happily went to her maternal home for 3 days to invite her maternal relatives to her son's marriage. Here the boy's sister-in-law did not wish to marry at a young age by the brother-in-law. Because the Pravah team had shared the disadvantages of child marriage during mapping and group formation. Which the sister-in-law had realized. Sharing the problem, sister-in-law urged Pravah team to stop the marriage.
Taking the problem seriously, Pravah team went to the boy's house and organized a meeting by gathering the local people. In the meeting, both lovers clearly told that we love each other and we cannot live separately under any circumstances. Their parents had full support in the decision of the boy. Our team mentioned the marriage is illegal by giving information about the provisions of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act 2006. The team explained in detail the physical and mental hazards of child marriage. Along with this, it was also explained how risky it is to run a household without becoming self-sufficient. When both of them have children, neither they will be able to be nurtured properly nor will they get a good education. To run the family, one has to work day and night and always will be under stress...
After persuasion by the team, the mother had a change her heart and agreed to cancel the marriage. But the loving couple were still firm on their decision. Agreeing with the mother's decision, the father explained to both the couples but both did not understand.
The girl said that I have left my home and family. It is not possible for me to go back home. If I go, I will be defamed a lot and I don't know whether my parents will give me shelter at home or not.
All the villagers agreed with the words of the girl. Then our team decided that the loving couple would be married. But on one condition. This marriage will happen only when the boy turns 21 years old. The team said to the boy that if you love this girl so much then can't wait for 2 years for her. The boy said he can but till then where will the girl stay?
After hearing the question from the boy, the team proposed in the meeting that "the boy's parents will go to the girl's house and explain the whole thing and explain the hazards of child marriage. After that, they will say, 2 years later we want to marry our son to your daughter. At the moment, let's get engaged and confirm the relationship." anyhow you have to achieve success in it.
Everyone agreed to this proposal. The boy's parents went to the girl's house and proposed the above proposal. The girl's parents agreed and after getting engaged, kept their daughter with them.
In this way, there was no harm to their love. The boy also got 2 years to become self-reliantand the girl was advised to skill development training so that the way to become self-reliant in future would be easy.

Case Study: 2
The Pravah’s steps towards community ownership for child protection The distance between Kushbona village and Shikaripara block(Dumka, Jharkhand) area is 3 kilometres. There are three small road pools and a forest department watch tower within this radius of 3 km. These are places where boys and men gather to drink and have fun. Since there is a college, school and main market in Shikaripara, girls commute through the said route for studies and shopping. During the movement of girls and women, mischievous boys used to do things like teasing, commenting, following and asking for their numbers. Due to this, girls and women felt afraid and uncomfortable while commuting.
One day, a girl was followed by two unknown boys who pressured her to talk and asked for her number. The girl immediately called her guest in a nearby village from her mobile and asked for help. A young man immediately came to help, seeing whom both the boys ran away. After this, its discussion spread to the surrounding villages. Then girls and women from nearby villages said that they too are often molested. Understanding the seriousness of the matter, the village head of Kushbona and Chaipani and two youths of Jabardaha contacted the Pravah team and informed about the incident. Our team called village heads around the Shikaripara area and suggested raising the matter with the child welfare police officer and the block-level child protection committee. Everyone agreed to this suggestion, after which the matter was orally placed before the Secretary (BDO) of BLCPC. The BDO instructed that you should go to the police station and report the problem and ask to increase police patrolling in that area. Everyone reached Shikaripara police station and talked about the problem. The police assured us that we would increase patrolling and take appropriate action you should not worry. With community efforts, the police increased patrolling morning and evening for five days and explained by their manners to the boys. The result was that drinking liquor and fun (Addavaji) has stopped there. At present, there has been no incident of molestation of girls and women.

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