In Jharkhand’s backyard where cartels of slavery agents run unabated human trafficking rackets, village girls may soon turn reporters to save their friends from falling prey to the growing nexus.
At least 10 girls each from left wing extremism-hit Khunti and Gumla districts, between the age group of 13 to 18 years -- have started undergoing a special training on how to highlight the cases of trafficking in their villages by making films, clicking pictures, writing reports and narrating stories on radios.
Once they are trained, these school-going girls would be reporting to officials concerned through civil societies and help them bust rackets in the interiors of the tribal state.
Rishi Kant of Delhi-based Shakti Vahini non-government organisation along with Jyotsna Khatri, a freelance filmmaker from Delhi and Prashanth Vishwanathan, a freelance photographer, started the training camps from Tuesday.
“We will also be including the government and the administration in the initiative since, without them it would not be possible to achieve success. The initiative is at an early stage and we are highly hopeful of getting a great response,” said Kant.
In Jharkhand, several agents from among the villagers work in the interiors and help placement agencies in Delhi and other metros run their illegal trade. A majority of these agents are still unidentified and pose a major threat to village girls who are lured with a promise of a good job and handsome salary, say activists. Thousands of children are trafficked from Jharkhand to other states every year.
The village reporters-in-the-making are expected to unearth village stories that often fail to get highlighted due to lack of resources in the rural areas, said Kant.
“We have spoken to local radio channels to help us play stories. Under this initiative, we need active participation of media friends,” said Kant adding that the girls would not only work against trafficking but also share stories about other woman-related issues, superstitions and even positive, inspirational stories.
He said after training, the girls would also be given gadgets for regular reporting.
17-year-old Rachna Kumari (named changed) of Palkot village in Gumla is passionate about photography and is undergoing training along with girls from neighbouring villages. Some of them are rescued victims of trafficking.
“With this (the camera) the village looks so beautiful. I would love to be a photographer and click pictures of my village,” she said.
Khatri said in the two classes held till now, the girls were taught lessons on basics of reporting and filmmaking.
“The classes have just begun. It will take time to see the results of the training sessions. We would also like to rope in local journalists for the trainings,” she said.
There would be a break in the training during the summer vacations and it would continue after the girls return, she said.
“It sounds like a good initiative. If village girls can share their stories and give quick information from ground zero, it can give a major boost to the anti-trafficking initiatives of the state,” said Inspector General (Organized Crime), Sampat Meena.