Guwahati, Feb 20 (IANS) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday flagged off the ‘Mukti Caravan’, a campaign on wheels against child trafficking spearheaded by Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA) in association with the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation.
Flagging off the Mukti Caravan from near his official residence, Gogoi said the movement launched in the state would help create awareness on trafficked, sexually abused and exploited children and liberate them from bondage.
Gogoi recalled his meetings with Nobel laureate Satyarthi, and appealed to the people, NGOs and the media to join hands with the state government and the BBA to put an end to all sorts of exploitation of children.
The first phase of the campaign will have tribal youth generating awareness in villages and towns prone to human trafficking.
The campaign will sensitise people through street plays, folk songs infused with social messages, pamphlets, wall writings, pledge signings and awareness camps on child exploitation and need for education to sensitise the masses.
Former victims of trafficking and bonded labour will participate in the campaign.
The first phase will cover 10 districts — Kamrup Rural, Kamrup Metro, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Baksa, Udalguri, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Goalpara.
The BBA has been utilising Mukti Caravan as an instrument of mass mobilisation and awareness since 1997.
The caravan has covered trafficking-prone villages in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, reaching out to more than one million people by traversing a distance of 2.5 lakh km.
BBA member and Balashram director Sumedha Kailash appealed to everyone to save children from being trafficked and help rehabilitate them into the mainstream.
“I appeal to the people to lodge complaints against child trafficking and sexual abuse with police and the office of Bachpan Bachao Andolan. I also urge the media to bring to light cases of children trafficked in the state,” she added.
She said that in the earlier campaign launched in the state in 2011, around 500 complaints against exploitation of children were received, out of which 259 children were rescued and rehabilitated.