One of the fastest ways to commute in India and some other Asian countries is by taking an auto rickshaw, or simply an ‘ auto’ in India. These three-wheeled vehicles, armed with the motor of a small motorcycle, scoot you across the streets for a very cheap price. The auto drivers, the owners of the streets, know better than anyone what’s going on in their area. They know who’s living there and who’s visiting the neighbourhood.
In Khammam, Southwest of India, around 15,000 auto drivers and 5000 lorry drivers are the eyes of Terre des Hommes and its partners in the streets. Along with, porters in Bus stands and Railway Stations, these 20.000 professionals play an important role in preventing Child trafficking by acting as vigil as they mostly based on the transit points of people’s movement.
The initiative started by partnering with both Auto and Truck Unions and organizing awareness raising activities and conducting orientation program for drivers who embrace the program immediately. “It is really a proud moment for all of us to be part of and contribute to this social cause,” said a truck driver.
“It is really a proud moment for all of us to be part of and contribute to this social cause”
Auto and lorry drivers are in the front line, not just to distribute, inform and create awareness raising among their clients and communities, but also to be the best informers to the police to inform about child trafficking and protecting mechanisms about child trafficking by informing about it to other unions.
This initiative is an innovative approach to connect with the Labour Unions to prevent Child Trafficking but also to encourage other Civil Society Organizations to take such kind of approach.
Communication is crucial in protecting children. A network of drivers working in the streets is one of the best channels to reach wider populations as these drivers contact with many people in their day to day work.
Under Girls Advocacy Alliance, where Terre des Hommes has a relevant role with its partners in protecting girls from trafficking, engaging truck and auto drivers to create awareness raising over children’s rights no matter their gender, caste or religion is bringing positive change in Khammam’s society.
Terre des Hommes promotes and support these initiatives which have a powerful impact on fighting against Child Trafficking. The next time you take an auto, remember a Child-rights activist is driving you.