NORTH LAKHIMPUR, March 11 - A three- month-long march against bride trafficking and forced early marriage is being organised from Assam to Himachal Pradesh by covering different States from March 25.
The march has been organised by Empower People, a Delhi-based organisation covering 8,000 kms and 10 Indian States. This �March Against Bridal Trafficking Yatra� will begin on March 25 from Diphu in Karbi Anlong and culminate in Shimla in Himachal Pradesh.
The other States to be covered during the march are West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. This was stated by Wahid Hussain, State convenor of Empower People in a press release today.
The proposed march will cover 727 kms in Assam, which will start from Diphu, Bokolia and Langhin in Karbi Anglong before entering Akashi Ganga, Sarupather, Chapramukh, Nellie, Pachim Nagaon and Dhupguri in Nagaon district and Tegheria, Sonapur, Jorabat, Kulahati, Kalitakuchi and Adhiarpara in Kamrup Rural district.
The anti-bridal trafficking march will visit Mukalmua in Nalbari and then Khongra, Senga, Bhella, Howli, Sorbhog and Manikpur in Barpeta district and reach Alipurdwar in West Bengal via Nagarjhar, Goraimari in Bongaingaon, Dangaigaon and Sidli in Chirang, Serfanguri and Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar and Dhubri town. The route of the march will follow the same route used by traffickers to take girls not only from Indian States, but also from Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, which covers more than 60% of trafficking taking place in India.
The aim of this march is to collaborate, mobilise and sensitise the local stakeholders, ethnic groups and individuals of the most trafficking-prone States of India.
This is going to be the longest march against bride trafficking along the Indian borders, the organisers say. More than 1,000 high schools, colleges, institutions and 2,000 bazaar/haats will be covered during the march. This would help establish networks with various service providers and individual volunteers along the route used for trafficking girls along the Indian border of Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.
The Empower People volunteers will organise public meetings at market places and conduct seminars with students within their institutions. Audio-visual presentations would be conducted to spread awareness amongst youth of the most vulnerable age groups for trafficking. Oath-taking ceremonies with the slogan - �Let the girl be a girl, not a bride� would be organised at every pitch stop to combat child marriages and bride trafficking.
Facilitation and training programmes of social workers would be conducted in rural areas. This event will help generate colossal data concerning the routes to understand the magnitude of exploitation of girls in these areas.
Even though Assam registered a 93% dip in human trafficking cases, an unprecedented rise in unrecovered abduction victims, cases of abduction and missing person reports raise questions if trafficking has actually dropped. Assam has recorded the highest number of untraceable abducted persons last year among all the States in the country.
The latest annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed that a total of 13,413 victims, 2,444 males and 10,969 females �who were abducted last year have not been traced yet. Assam is followed by Madhya Pradesh with 8,872 and Rajasthan with 4,880 persons suspected to have been abducted. The NCRB report recorded a dip of 93% in the trafficking cases from 1,317 in 2015 to only 91 in 2016, which is difficult to believe because the same NCRB report recorded a 36% rise in missing person�s cases from 3,382 in 2015 to 4,600 in 2016. (Farhana Ahmed is the Cause Ambassador of Empower People)