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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Youth In Action: Be innovators: Make a Social Change

by Ganna (a participant from Ukraine)

In January 2014, an “out of the box” Youth in Action project entitled “Be innovators: Make a social change” was organized by Global Human Rights Defence for 25 participants representing NGOs from Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Moldova, Romania, Armenia, Serbia and the Netherlands.

The main aim of this project was to introduce the concept of social entrepreneurship as a means of sustainable and independent functioning for an NGO working in the youth field or any other field.

The project was designed as a training course based on non-formal education methods such as discussions, debates, presentations and workshops etc.

A very clear and precise image of a social enterprise was introduced to the participants by Jonathan Talbott from Talbott International presentations who outlined the main characteristics of social entrepreneurship and stressed the differences between its use in non-profitable and business activities. The introduction to the topic was then taken over by Peter van Poortvliet who represented Cordaid, a civil society organization which focuses on development within vulnerable regions and areas of conflict. In addition, a meeting with representatives from Enviu, an organization that focuses on co-creation and business-development, greatly contributed to the overall understanding of the idea of social entrepreneurship.

Participants also had a unique chance to meet social activists from the NGO Stitchting Mytikas. This NGO uses innovative approaches in their work with youth and has conducted many interesting and comprehensive workshops with organizations based in The Hague, The Netherlands that work with sexual minorities, people with disabilities, migrants and refugees.

During the event, it was not just ideas of potential social enterprises that were discussed among participants. The training course also brought forward innovative and creative approaches of design thinking. The GHRD team also presented a workshop based on methodology obtained from Stanford University which gave participants a thoughtful, step-by-step explanation of how to design ideas in a unique and interesting manner.

The training course “Be innovators: Make a social change” was seen as a turning point for many participants in their perceptions of NGO functioning and further development. Innovative ideas were taken back to the participant’s home countries and I believe one day in the near future we will see outstanding activities from the NGOs who attended the event. 

Disclaimer: Blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Human Rights Defence.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

MASTERMINDS OF A BETTER FUTURE: 'Draw a red X on your hand’ Slavery still exists!

 by Olamide Aderinokun (University of Sussex, UK)

February 27th marked the day where Freedom Fighters world-wide raised awareness of the movement ‘END IT: Shine a light on Slavery’.

“Let’s be the generation to stand up for the 27 million men, women and children trapped in slavery around the world today. In brothels, in factories, in mines, on street corners, in homes, in the shadows, hidden.” End it movement 2014

The term ‘slavery’ to many people, means an established practice which has been left in the past and is related to the capture and transportation of minorities in order to work in sugar plantations.

However this is not the reality, slavery still continues to exist and has manifested itself in a variety of modern, less obvious forms. One of which is ‘human trafficking’. There are many different forms of human trafficking, for example forced labour (industrial, factory work etc.), bonded labour (forced labour in order to repay a loan), domestic work (housekeepers, gardeners, cooks etc.) ,prostitution, child soldiers and forced begging. In many cases of human trafficking, individuals are transported away from their hometowns which are often rural and are forced to migrate to large cities.

According to the International Labour organisation (ILO), in 2012 there were around 11.7 million people enslaved in the Asia-Pacific region. This accounted for 56% of enslaved people worldwide.  

Child trafficking in India

Reports state that up to 1.2 million children are being trafficked each year worldwide. This figure includes 200,000 children trafficked from India. Children trafficked from India are often sold by their parents (sometimes for as little as 1,000 rupees, 12), or kidnapped.  I came across an article in The Guardian written in 2012 based on a young boy named Azam who was just seven when he was sold to traffickers by his mother. When describing his experience, he said he “hated every minute of the day.” Working 9am to 10pm everyday became torture for the 7 year old, yet he didn’t dare escape. Azam was promised to be paid for his work but as the months went by he wasn’t given any money.

In India, the problem of child trafficking is not confined to international boundaries as many children are being trafficked within India, as was the case with Azam. Regions such as New Delhi have more than 5,000 domestic work placement agencies operating in a neighbourhood called Shakurpur (Basti). The ‘Global Slavery Index’ shows that trafficking patterns indicate that 90% of human trafficking in India is domestic, with only 10% taking place across national borders. 

Nevertheless, the high rates of human trafficking in India have made it into a destination country for trafficked women, men and children from Nepal and Bangladesh. It is estimated that between 100,000- 200,000 Nepali people are trafficked into India each year, and by not having immigration control under the 1950 ‘Peace and Friendship act’ it makes it even easier for people to migrate between the countries. The states of southern India have become the most favoured destinations for human traffickers to bring their ‘victims’ and according to the India Times’ these states are home to more than half the number of human trafficking cases reported  across India. Reports show on average, each of the three south Indian states (Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh, Karnataka) reports over 300 human trafficking cases every year. Tamil Nadu leads with 2,244 cases reported during the 2009-2012 period, followed by Andra Pradesh with 2,157 cases.

‘Modern day slavery’ in India continues to abuse many human rights, most obviously, article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 which states that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.” Trafficking is a low priority in India and judicial officials are insensitive to victim’s needs and mental state.

The principles behind ‘END IT’ is that by drawing a “red X” on our hand, it will raise awareness among our society and force people to ask questions who may otherwise be oblivious to modern day slavery. It will encourage discussions across the globe and allow millions of people to stand up for the voiceless women, men and children who have been tormented by modern day slavery.

Slavery is not just an issue in India but it affects life in every society and culture including our own. Human trafficking continues to exist around the world and by getting involved in the ‘END IT’ movement we are raising awareness for those trapped in the dark. 

Disclaimer: Blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Human Rights Defence.