In a conventional advocacy, National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma stressed the need to create employment opportunities for women from the northeastern states to restrict trafficking of women. She made the statement in Shillong, Meghalaya on the sidelines of an official function held on November 14, 2017. She was making this statement as her office received reports of trafficking of women from the region, who were trapped by traffickers through dubious means.
According to Sharma, false dreams given by traffickers, the internet, financial weakness of the family and no mean to sustain their livelihood in their homes is fuelling trafficking of women from the northeastern region.
She underscored the need to create enough employment opportunities in the region’s rural areas so that unscrupulous people are not able to lure unsuspecting victims in search of better opportunities outside the confines of their homes.
Also underscoring how the women from the region are poorly representation both in the state legislative assembly and parliament, she observed that women cannot own immovable property, like ancestral fields and homesteads, according to prevalent customary laws of many tribes of the region, hence the insecurity and women in the northeast are disadvantaged under the customary practices.
Sharama also informed that rehabilitation of the rescued women is often a problem, especially with the families refusing to accept them. She further stressed that there is a need to rehabilitate them by offering them skill training and also by providing them shelter.
History has witnessed all such attempts by various Non-Governmental Organizations, Women Welfare Associations and also the governmental agencies who from time to time had encouraged the women to be self reliant, and various skills were being imparted to the rural folks, particularly the women, such that they need not moved out from their comfort zone to seek employment, many cluster villages were encouraged, yet it failed to prevent human trafficking.
It can be stated that most of such schemes and suggestions are not serving the core purpose to stabilize the earning for the women folks in particular and the society in general, hence urban migration is still high.
The problems is that even though the women folk have extended their traditional occupation, be it farming, the enhancement of skills be it in weaving or handicrafts, it is not fetching them enough income, whereas many such so-called NGOs or social workers have turned into middlemen who are not compensating the artisans and craftsman enough, while they sell the products either in craft bazaar or even export these to foreign countries.
Introspection of such services rendered by various organizations is a must, as they have been flourishing, but the artists and the artisans’ economic status remain as they have been.
Sharma should have encouraged the women folks now to be entrepreneurs by promoting their products by themselves and not through any other NGOs or middleman. They should be trained in entrepreneurial skills, such that they have the power to bargain and be independent. This will be a better approach to prevent them from being misguided by people with vested interests.
The respective state governments from the region should also encourage trading with other states and countries to promote art and culture, and traditional handicrafts on their own state. Even the agricultural, horticultural and animal husbandry produces and products are mostly domestically consumed, mass production and export are never encouraged. Once marketing of the state products and produces are streamlined into the market, it will surely fetch them better rewards and be self-sufficient.
NCW too should reframe its schemes and projects to empower the women folks particularly the rural women. Enough contribution has been extended in conservation and promotion of the skills and arts, it is time to link them to the virtual market by turning these women into entrepreneurs which is the need of the hour. This will not only turn them into self-reliant members of the community, it will also build up their confidence to be at par with male counterparts, such that they will no longer be misguided or pushed into trafficking.