Published: 02nd December 2021
Student Police Cadets say "no" to child marriage and human trafficking in their new international campaign
The three-month campaign is being piloted in India and Ghana in Africa with the support of Mission Better Tomorrow and the Kalinga Fellowship
The Student Police Cadets (SPC) of Kerala, in their eleven years of service, have always addressed issues that affect the society. This time, they have gone beyond national borders to pilot an international campaign against child marriage and human trafficking. The three-month long campaign is being piloted in India and Ghana in Africa with the support of Mission Better Tomorrow, a global SPC platform and the Kalinga Fellowship, which is a programme against trafficking.
The campaign is being conducted in two schools of the state — Vithura Government Vocational and Higher Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram and MV Higher Secondary School, Ariyallur in Malappuram. Vithura station house officer S Sreejith led an awareness cycle rally yesterday as part of the campaign. He said, “We have conducted awareness sessions for the people who live in and around the Vithura rural station. We plan to implement the same in more areas during the three-month period of the campaign and take it to all schools in the state where there is a SPC unit operating. Although the prevalence of such issues is low in Kerala compared to other states, we feel there must be an awareness regarding the same so that the careers of young minds do not get destroyed.”
The actual campaign will begin on December 10, which marks World Human Rights Day. Anver K, a teacher-cum-community police officer at Vithura VHSS said, “We have brainstormed ideas like street plays, flash mob, poster making and leaflet distribution. The five tribal study centres that we had set up earlier will act as awareness centres in their respective settlements for this campaign. The students themselves would even make short films for this campaign. Primarily we want to reach out to the adult community. In Vithura, we have planned to gather the male members after they return from work in the evening. A lot of the time awareness campaigns miss out on them since they are at work but with this way, we can make it work.”
Anver also spoke to EdexLive about the growing concern of child marriage in Kerala. “The issue of child marriage and human trafficking are becoming a grave concern these days. In Kerala alone and only during the two lockdown periods, there were 82 cases of child marriage that were reported. The only solution for this can be to make parents more sensitive to the problem and to make them aware of treating their children just as children until they are old enough to be adults. It has been observed in the state many times that parents wait for their girl child to turn 18 and then immediately get her married. The engagement and everything is fixed before that. Legally, they do not do anything wrong there but we want to spread the message that women too should get married only when they are financially and socially stable in their lives. One might not be wrong to assume that if there are 82 reported cases, several more may have gone unreported,” he said.
Speaking about the potential challenges that the campaign would face, Anver said, “A big hurdle that we have to overcome is to reach out to maximum areas since the Vithura panchayat is composed of hilly areas. We need to plan extensively in order to gain access to people there. Another facet that we need to consider is that the social activism of students does not affect their studies. All this would have to be done while following COVID protocols.”