Bhubaneswar: A group of 16 individuals from Hyderabad comprising students, volunteers and social activists are on a 14-day cycle rally to Odisha to spread awareness on Human Trafficking.
The team under the banner “Red-Ride” will be crisscrossing migrant-prone districts of Ganjam, Khurda, Cuttack, Bargarh, Nuapada, Balangir, Kalahandi and Koraput sensitising the public, vulnerable communities and students about the crime and ways to prevent it.
The expedition that was flagged off from Vishakapatnam on November 27 reached Bhubaneswar today and will culminate at Central University on December 10.
The cyclists will cover a distance of 1500 km including rural and urban areas and organise events at different educational institutions to maximise their outreach.
“Despite the pandemic, the territory of traffickers has been flourishing in an unrestrained manner. The fast-paced internet has connected children and online predators. The increase in online child sexual content has peaked more than ever in many states including Odisha that has also been reporting rampant labour trafficking. Although the government has mechanisms to provide security in such cases, many victims still hesitate to report a crime” said Chrysolyte Founder of Red Rope interacting with students of Bhubaneswar -based NISWASS college.
With the slogan “Spot it, speak it stop it,” the objective of the expedition is to sensitise and encourage everyone to report such incidents. The riders are also encouraging students to establish anti-human trafficking clubs to instil social responsibility among the students.
“Interacting with students in schools and colleges and answering the queries of students on various trafficking-related crimes, ways to prevent them and roles of various state agencies have been a great experience. Songs, dances and plays including colourful posters have made these sessions very interactive,” informed Jagdish, another cyclist.
Notably, as per the latest National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, the highest number of victims who were trafficked for forced labour last year were from Odisha, which also saw cybercrimes shoot up by a whopping 30 per cent amid the coronavirus lockdown. As many as 653 people were trafficked for forced labour, the highest among all the states and Union territories. It is 44.97 per cent of the total victims who were trafficked for forced labour in the country last year. A total of 764 people, including 280 women, were rescued in 2020, while 189 suspects were arrested on charges of human trafficking.
The events are being held at schools, colleges, vulnerable communities, railway stations, bus stations, market yards where the cyclists are speaking about the types of trafficking, methods of luring, safe unsafe migrations and reporting mechanisms. The team is also enacting skits and plays based on various types of human trafficking and demonstrating self-defence techniques.