Friday, May 2, 2008

US consulate in pact with an NGO to stop women trafficking

The US consulate in Kolkata is going full steam to reach out to women migrants to that country who could fall prey to the trafficking network. So, next time you are planning a visit to the US, do not be surprised if an 'anti-trafficking' brochure is slipped into your documents.

The consulate is collaborating with Apne Aap Women Worldwide to launch this anti-trafficking campaign among prospective migrants.

Posters highlighting the problems of human trafficking will be displayed in the consulate's visa waiting room. The consular section is also distributing brochures and pamphlets to visa applicants containing information on the nature of the problem.

The brochures also contain contact details of helplines both in the US and India so that people going to the US can get help in case they are forced into prostitution or servitude.

"In the US, a victim of crime has rights. Victim assistance, such as counselling, emergency shelter and legal aid, is available. There are laws that could help you regardless of your immigration status," a brochure said. It also states that victims of abuse or violence can also contact the National Women's Health Information Center at the US Department of Health & Human Services.

In fact, the US has a special visa category, T Visa, to bail out victims arrested for crimes they have been forced to commit.

"This is a special case where the US law sees you first as a 'victim' other than a criminal. So, even if a person is arrested for, say prostitution, but it turns out that she has been forced into it, the victim will not be deported", said Deborah A Miller, consul at the US Consulate in Kolkata.

Founder president of Apne Aap Ruchira Gupta said how she came across at least three women from Kolkata in the US who had been subjected to physical and mental torture by their husbands. "In India, the failed tea gardens in north Bengal have become catchment areas for women trafficking," said Gupta.

The US has also launched a special drive since December last in which law enforcement agencies record finger print details of migrants who have been convicted there.

"Finger prints of visa applicants will be verified with the recorded ones. If they are found matching, they will be denied visas," said Miller. The consulate in Kolkata has denied 12 persons entry to the US on these grounds since December.

Source: http://www.financialexpress.com/news/US-consulate-in-pact-with-an-NGO-to-stop-women-trafficking/303966/

Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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