Consultation on migration and human trafficking in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: “International Migrants Day” is observed on 18 December every year in accordance with the Resolution 55/93 of the United Nations General Assembly adopting a resolution on the international Convention on the protection of the Rights of All Migrants workers and members of their families. The UN appeals to all UN member states, intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations to observe this day by disseminating information on human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants, sharing experiences, and undertaking action to ensure the protection of the rights of migrants.India is residents to 400 million migrant populations as per census 2011 out of which 100 millions are seasonal migrant labourers migrate from rural to urban area. Poor, disadvantage and vulnerable people from backward region are migrating to the urban area for survival, employment and to eke out a better livelihood. Due to lack of effective legal enforcement and absence of interstate coordination mechanism most of these people either trafficked and traded and were transported to various states. Therefore, migrant workers encounter gross violation of basic human rights both at sources, during transit and at worksites. Women and children of these families are more susceptible to ill treatment, abuse, physical and mental exploitation and denied basic services and entitlements.  According to NCRB report labour trafficking cases in India registered in 2015 have increased on an average by 48%.  Again, Socio Economic Cast Census of 2011 reveals existence of 1.13 lakh legally released bonded labourers in India. Odisha is known as one of the key migration source states of India. As per the Department of Labour, Govt of Odisha information, close to 1.3 lakh inter-state worker migrate to other states to work as migrant labourers. However, unofficially, there are 2 million migrants are working in various states in India as migrant workers. Majority of the migrant workers are from coastal region which accounts for 50% of the total migrants working in textile, cotton ginning, carpet, diamond polishing, and construction sectors. Labour migration from tribal north, southern and western Odisha are mostly considered as distress family migration to work in brick kiln, construction, stone crusher, domestic work, plantation and agriculture sector within and outside of the state. On the other hand, young and adolescent groups from tribal and rural region migrating to various interstate and intrastate destinations to work in hotel, restaurant, construction manufacturing and various service sectors. The state also has been reporting large number of workers who are migrating to Gulf and other international destinations as construction workers. The government of Odisha has formulated a state action plan to reduce vulnerability of migrant workers in western Odisha and trying to set up help desks in key destination states. The department of Education has been working on setting up seasonal hostels for migrant children in the western districts of Odisha. Whereas the civil society organisations have been actively working on migrant children education at destination, awareness generation of safe migration and advocating for better and meaningful policy for the migrant workers. The Inter State Migrant Workers Act of 1979 has not been helping the migrant workers and needs amendment. The Government of India is going to discuss and pass a new “Trafficking of person (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) bill 2017” which is under debate. While the act has are some progressive provisions to curb all form of trafficking but still there are gaps to address the issues of labour trafficking and laws to protect the migrant labour. The UN sustainable development Goal also focuses its attention on reducing vulnerability of men, women and child migrants and creating an inclusion policy. The inclusive policies for migrants in cities are a key urban policy which needs to be undertaken by the government. At this outset the Migration Information & Resource Centre, MiRC, Aide et Action is planning for a one day consultation on the eve of international migrants day on 18th of December to discuss, deliberate and find solutions to the followingi. Labour migration and trafficking in Odisha- Issues, challenges and solutionii. Laws and policy to protect the rights of migrant workersiii. Need for welfare, basic entitlements and social security of migrant workersiv. Migrant bonded and trafficked survivors and their effective rehabilitation. v. Civil society initiatives and collective actionThe participants for the consultation are mostly includes, UN agencies, Government officials, civil society organisation, activist, Academia, media and other concern groups and individuals.

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