West Bengal Police has come up with a project, Swayangsiddha, to combat human trafficking and prevent child marriage. Swayangsiddha’ means ‘self-reliant’. The project envisions empowering young girls and boys, with knowledge and skills so that they are aware, alert, able to make informed choices and are less vulnerable to violation and abuse of their rights.
Swayangsiddha Groups have been formed in schools and colleges with interested students. These groups were formed with students between the ages of 12 and 21 years. The State Government’s Child Protection Committees are monitoring and guiding these groups. In all, 3,862 students have come forward to form the Swayangsiddha Groups, of which 69 per cent are girls and the rest 31 per cent are boys. They are sharing information on human trafficking, child rights, ill effects of child marriage and the important helpline numbers with other students and their neighborhoods. Schools have identified 200 teachers as mentors.
Part of the project is strengthening the response mechanism to acts of violation of rights in collaboration with police and child protection committees to build safe communities.Strengthening access to schemes and entitlements on education, training, livelihood and food security for vulnerable groups is also an important part of Swayangsiddha.
In this respect, it needs to be mentioned that the internationally-hailed scheme, Kanyashree, a brainchild of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, does provide help in some of these areas to schoolgirls across the state. Kanyashree Clubs have been opened in various places. Now, with Swayangsiddha, those efforts are being strengthened and a wider range of issues are being addressed.
The Project is a brainchild of Shri Chandrashekhar Bardhan Additional SP of Diamond Harbour who initiated this project in 2015.
“The information which has been generated from the Swayangsiddha campaign has also led to the busting of several interstate trafficking gangs said Rishi Kant of Shakti Vahini”. He added that the campaign has had a very positive impact and has also led to mass awareness on the issue.