"An Indian civil society organization striving for gender justice through women's empowerment and policy advocacy interventions"

Trafficking and creating Zero Violence Zones in Maharashtra

  • 1. Tackling the issue of trafficking of women (Twarita (1 and 2) 2000-2002) Pune and Mumbai Metros of Maharashtra State in India with support from UNIFEM, South Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India.

    SAK wish to tackle the trafficking of women and girls at its origin viz community /home level because one the woman gets trafficked and sucked into the CSW net, it becomes difficult to extricate her.

    • Established Mahila Madat Kendra (Women's Support Centers) which destination points of agents bringing women and girls viz. Railway Station and Bus terminus in Pune. Worked closely with Railway Police and police stations 29 women and girls were rescued, 45 women and girls were rescued from their raids on red light areas and were sent to their families, 20 girls were counseled and rehabilitated by working intensively with remand homes in Pune. Over 100 survivors were counseled outside the police stations and were sent back to their families without registering the cases.

  • 2. Raising community consciousness to address the issue of trafficking of women and girls in parts of the state of Maharashtra (2004) in Pune and Mumbai Metros and parts of Rural Maharashtra with the help of UNIFEM, South Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India to take forward the outcomes of 2nd SAPAT (south Asia professionals against Trafficking) Workshop:

    • Established Women's support Centers in Pune and Mumbai Metros, worked closely with Remand Homes and inmates (girls) therein and counseling of inmates, Intensive training of staff of Remand Homes at Pune, Kolhapur and Latur districts, training of media on issues of trafficking through workshops in Thane, Nashik and Navi Mumbai. Training and sensitization of people's representatives in the districts of Pune, Kolhapur and Latur.

    • At community level worked extensively with 5000 population under each of 16 police stations identified for intervention to enhance community participation and creating effective vigilance mechanism to stop trafficking of women and girls from vulnerable families. Here the Mohalla Committees (Community support Groups comprising representatives from all castes/religions, elite class, police personnel, local CBOs, women's associations, etc.) earlier set up by police were revived and created awareness amongst them about the project. 78 meetings were conducted in Mumbai and Pune focusing on issues of trafficking, VAW and concerned laws.

    • Organsised a series of gender sensitization workshops for over 200 police personnel under the police stations, especially in handling the cases of trafficking and survivors of violence.

    • Series of capacity building trainings of Mohalla Committees were organized to act as community watch system to stop trafficking and

    • Provided counseling support to 401 women affected by various forms of violence from various parts of project area and the analysis of the same was shared with communities from time to time to make them aware of forms of violence faced by women and community measures to stop the VAW.

    • SAK also created awareness amongst all stakeholders about Beijing Platform for Action (BPFA) document, the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection Act 1986, (JJ Act), CEDAW and the SMRC Convention Against Trafficking.

  • 3. Supporting women and children in vulnerable circumstances (Nirbhaya- |) And Strengthening resource center to support women and children in vulnerable circumstance a project for anti trafficking program (Nirbhhaya –ll) during 2006 – 2008 in Pune, Mumbai Metros in Maharashtra with the help of UNIFEM, New Delhi, India.

    During the phase I SAK addressed issues of VAW involving multi-stakeholders like men, UN organization, interfaith groups, the Private sector and the mass Media. Some of its major activities entailed Mahila Madat Kendras (Women Support Centers) especially mobile help desks, Flying Squads, Women's conferences, media sensitization workshops, publishing awareness material, capacity building of Self help groups. Specifically the achievements of project were:

    • Forty one women and children directly rescued at Railway stations or train and bus terminus.
    • Sixty eight women/girls rescued by the police through their raids in the red light areas in consultation/co-ordination with SAK flying squads.
    • Around one hundred and fifty one women through informal dialogues by the activists of the flying squad in Pune city.
    • Over six hundred Paralegal professionals trained on specific issues related to women' empowerment legal structure, policies, dealing with the police.
    • Legal assistance provided to over two hundred women who were victims of violence.
    • Counseling of One hundred and eighty five underage victims while at Short Stay Homes.
    • Seventeen workshops conducted for police officials in project areas.
    • Fifty plus Meetings held with officials and people's representatives.

      The achievements of phase II are :

    • Set up a full-fledged Information Resource center which has started hosting socio-legal counseling of survivors and making information available to NGOs, police, railway police force, members of District Women's Vigilance Committees s and District Anti-Trafficking Committees.
    • Oriented 144 adolescent girls from Remand Homes on inhibitions, fears and problems of growing up, protection and after care and support services available to them. The girls were oriented to the different schemes of Department of Women and Child Welfare and how to safeguard one from trafficking.
    • Activated District Women Vigilance Committees (DWVC or Mahila Dakshata Samiti as called in the State) and District Anti-trafficking Committees (DATC) Pune & Mumbai. Latur, Osmanabad, Solapur, Aurangabad, Mumbai, Buldhana, Nagpur, Amravati, Sangli and Kolhapur. Most of these districts are either points of origin, destination or transit.
    • Trained 30 lawyers and public prosecutors on handling the different socio-economic, legal and political dimensions of issue of trafficking and gender from Pune, Mumbai, Latur, Osmanabad, Jalna, and Solapur.
    • Reprinted 1000 copies of Police Margdarshika (a reference book in local language on issues of anti trafficking explaining different sections of laws in the country for ready reference and better understanding to local police) and distributed amongst urban & rural police stations in Pune District and Railway Police Force at Pune, Mumbai, members of DWVC and DATCs.
    • Dr. Neelam Gorhe, chairperson of SAK who is member of State Legislative Council took up the issues of trafficking and status of implementation of anti trafficking laws and the role of police in handling cases of victims and to demand justice and activate state administration to take notice.

  • Enabling Social Environment To Combat Violence Against Women - Zero Violence Zone (2002-2004), Pune and Mumbai with support from UNIFEM, South Asia Regional Office, New Delhi, India

    Working closely with communities and Police Administration to create Zero Violence Zones by strengthening Mollha Committees (ward based or neighborhood Groups) Committees to combat violence against women in 16 police stations in Maharashtra, Gender sensitization training of the police officials, Awareness rallies and camps, Legal aid and counseling to women in distress, Moholla committee and also strengthening Mahila Dakshta samitis (Women's Vigilance Committees attached to police stations) to provide first level support women approaching police stations

      The specific achievements are:
    • Over 10,000 women supported. Initially 100 volunteers and now 600 community volunteers in Mumbai and 200 in Pune started working in Mohallas committees and then with 'Mahila Dakshata samities'
    • Network of 800 community volunteers in Mumbai and Pune who are aware of legal rights of women and bring in grassroots issues for policy interventions
    • 20 workshops and 100 orientations, 150 focused Group Discussion with police covering 20 police stations using medium of 'case studies'.
    • This resulted in better cooperation by police in handling VAW cases and enhanced confidence amongst women in approaching police.

  • Promoting Zones of Zero Tolerance to violence against women in 14 police station areas in urban and rural parts of Maharashtra. (2004-2006) in Pune, Mumbai, Latur, Osmanabad And Aurangbad districts of Maharashtra State with the help of UNIFEM (South Asia regional initiative Equity Support Program)

    Worked closely with women's groups, communities and police department, Home Ministry (Maharashtra) to crate Community Based zero violence zones to stop all forms of violence against women. The program was evaluated by UNIFEM which appreciated the ground work and advocacy with state in this regard.

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