Trafficking of children is a grave concern and one of the most serious organized crimes today, transcending cultures, geography, and time. According to the US State Department, India is one of the most popular trafficking destinations in South Asia.
Researchers estimate that over 50% of human trafficking victims are children, with children from poor families being particularly vulnerable. Victims are used for domestic help, begging, organ trade, and forced prostitution. Trafficking is on the rise in Kolkata, since West Bengal serves as a hub fro international, inter-, and intra-state trade. When children are rescued, the biggest challenge is to provide them with an immediate safe place. At least 40% of rescued victims are re-trafficked due to failed rehabilitation efforts.
Childhood is the most important chapter of life and supporting a child's right to safety, love, care, shelter, nutrition, health care, and education should be society's primary concern. We believe in building and promoting a safe environment for disadvantaged and vulnerable children, providing love and encouragement so that these children are able to become strong members of society. This is why we have aligned our social responsibility efforts with the mission of Hope Kolkata Foundation (Hope).
For the past 13 years, Hope has run a wide network of services to extend support to thousands of underprivileged and vulnerable children living in extreme poverty; their main goal is to protect these children from abuse and restore their basic rights. Hope's programs tackle complex cultural issues, such as child labor and child trafficking.
Our company and Hope joined hands earlier this year for the Ashar Alo - A Light of Hope project. The project supports more than 30 orphaned, abandoned, or trafficked adolescent girls between the ages of 13 and 20. We sponsor and monitor the functioning of the protection home, with employees regularly visiting the site to support, monitor, and meet with the children.
We look forward to strengthening this partnership through three additional projects:
- Childhood blindness eradication project
- Life skills vocational training project
- Accelerated learning program for children with learning disabilities
We are committed to helping children live with dignity, protected from abuse and neglect, with the health services and education they need to thrive.