Sunday, January 26, 2014

Combating Mindset : One of the challenges in anti-human trafficking effort

Over the years, I have become a subject of ridicule because of my passion with this subject of human trafficking. And honestly, even I feel that my passion is growing disproportionately with time. Theory and practice when clubbed together becomes dangerous mixture, and I am active in both for a while, now. Hence, perhaps, I get more sensitive, as the world for me is local, in practice, and international, in theory. And that sensitivity (many of my friends call it oversensitivity) forces me to react to vivid human rights violation and exploitation, which would be trafficking, but in frame of feudal society reference a mere customary practice having societal sanction.

Recently, I was a resource person on the subject, and I was interacting with senior officers of defence and civil services. While discussing on the issue of forced labor (labor trafficking) in agriculture and domestic help, I had to face vehement opposition for trying to challenge the set system of convenience for both victims (who do not understand the exploitation, which is normalization for generations) and exploiters. The entrenched feudal mindset was vulgarly manifested through strong support to rights violation, as according to them victims were in a better situation than place of origin from where they are recruited. The failure of the social justice system, making them vulnerable at the point of origin, was debated as an excuse for continuity of exploitation at the place of destination through forced labor.

When we talk about partnership and multi agency approach to combat trafficking, it becomes imperative for all to realize that support and services have to come at all phases of trafficking, origin-transit-destination. Failure of agencies at one phase cannot be reason to overlook exploitation at other phases. We have to rework on our mindset and accept the existence of problem. Exploitation is unacceptable in all forms, irrespective of its existence in the past.