Anti-Trafficking and Bonded Labor Workshop at Chanakya National Law University, Patna
On 29 September 2013 JVI’s Bihar legal team held a workshop on human trafficking and bonded labor at Chanakya National Law University (CNLU), Patna, the state’s premier law school. The session drew over 70 students and faculty members and was a considerable success. JVI advocates addressed the trafficking and bonded labor situations in India, unpacked relevant Indian and international law, and outlined JVI’s current work and vision for Bihar.
The participants were clearly high caliber, and most had a solid prior knowledge of international human rights law and applicable sections of the Indian Constitution. Many were also aware of the major elements of human trafficking, but their understanding of bonded labor was less strong. A video dramatizing the story of a boy held in debt bondage had an impact on those present and led to a lively discussion on the legal elements of bonded labor and possibilities for victim relief and rehabilitation. Faculty members added questions on finer elements of criminal procedure, and advocates Hem Raj and Sanju Singh were able to clarify the students’ common misconceptions about anti-trafficking law.
Most encouraging were questions relating to poverty as a cause of debt bondage and the problem of securing postrescue employment, which showed that participants were driving to the complexities at the heart of the bonded labor problem and simultaneously revealed their desire to fight human trafficking and debt bondage in Bihar.
JVI received positive feedback after the session, including from students who said they had had little knowledge of bonded labor dynamics or specific cases in Bihar before the workshop. Several expressed an interest in future involvement with JVI, particularly in the area of bonded labor or human trafficking rescues and prosecution follow up.
The CLNU faculty invited JVI to conduct further trainings on bonded labor at the law school and affirmed their interest in a long-term partnership with JVI. As JVI works to equip the legal community and judiciary to combat human trafficking in Bihar, this training marked a significant step forward. These CNLU students are the next generation of Bihar lawyers. JVI’s hope is to harness the intelligence and enthusiasm of CNLU students as they pass into the legal workforce, ensuring that the next generation is equipped to combat trafficking and passionate about human rights issues.