Civil society voices concern on protection of migrant workers

Bhubaneswar, Dec 18: On the eve of International Migrants Day Aide et Action, an International NGO working on the issues of migrant population had organised a consultation on ‘ Migration & Human Trafficking in Odisha’ at Bhubaneswar.

Inaugurating the consultation former Justice and former acting chairperson of Odisha Human Rights Commission Bira Kishore Mishra  said that intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations should act in a more coordinated way through the dissemination of information on human rights of migrants, and through sharing of experiences and the design of actions to ensure the protection of migrants.

Presenting the overview of Odisha migration, Migration expert and Director – Migration & Education of Aide et Action   shared that underdeveloped western and southern districts experiences large scale family migration to brick kiln industries located at growing cities of within and outside of states.

According to the information of Labour Department, as many as 1.04 lakh of people has been migrated through registration under interstate migrant workmen Act.

 Informal studies estimates that more than 2.5 lakhs people only from western and southern districts migrate with families to work in the brick kiln sites. While migrating with families through an illegal process of recruitment by middlemen many of them often faces exploitation, abuse and bondage situation at worksites. Accompanying children became deprived from care, nutrition, health and education services.

Political scientist and a prominent human rights defender shared that the issues of refugees, asylum seekers and the victims of trafficking should be treated in a humanely manner.

Highlighting the issues of migrant children and child trafficking, Member of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) Harihar Naik appealed that there should be better coordination between the migrant children sending and receiving states.

Sharing their experiences victim of labour trafficking and persons who are migrating deliberated their  process of recruitment, transportation, workplace environment and wage pattern of a migrant labourer which is a clear indication of trafficking of  migrant labourers in Odisha.

The participants felt that there is a strong policy and its effective implementation is highly require to ensure human rights and dignity among migrant workers in Odisha.

Among other Laxminarayan Nanda, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Odisha, Trade Union leader Mahendra Parida,  Kuntirani Padhan, Research Associate, National Law University Odisha, Dr Hrushikesh Meher, Faculty, Biju Patnaik State Police Academy, Bhubaneswar, Gourishyam Panda, Covenor Western Odisha Migration Network and Lalita Missal of NAWO and Urban planner Dr Piyush Rout expressed their views during the consultation.

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