THE BODY SHOP® INDIA AND ECPAT WILL PRESENT OVER 300,000 PETITIONS TO THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT AS INDIA RATIFIES THE UN CONVENTION AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING.

The presentation of the Petition to Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young people by The Body Shop® and ECPAT will take place next month in the presence of Shakti Vahini and STOP, the NGO supporters for the campaign. On International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the brand celebrates the Ratification of UN Trafficking Protocol in India to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons for which an incredible count of over 300,000 signatures from across 30 cities in India have already been collected by The Body Shop®.

The Ratification of the UN Protocol against trafficking was The Body Shop® India Petition’s 1st call to action and The Body Shop® thanks the Government of India for actioning the most important national legislation to fight this global crime.

Going forward, The Body Shop® petition requests for legislative support for the remaining three calls to action:

  • Integration of a compulsory module on trafficking in children within school curricula and teachers training programs;
  • Strengthening of the special 24/7 nation-wide toll-free helpline so that it addresses adequately the needs of child victims of trafficking;
  • Establishment of specific shelters for child victims of trafficking or existing shelters to be equipped to provide systematic adequate assistance and protection services, especially psychological counselling.

Commenting on the scale of the problem at hand, Mr. Ravi Kant, Non-Official Member, Central Advisory Committee on Trafficking, Govt. of India, President- Shakti Vahini said “Every year an estimated 1.2 million children and young people are trafficked, becoming victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Human trafficking is the third largest international crime after illegal drugs and arms trafficking. It exists in every continent, region and country in the world including this one. The reason we have called for this action in India is because it means that child victims of trafficking will now have safe shelters and protection which will help their rehabilitation.”

WE DON’T JUST CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE, WE CREATE CHANGE!

Explaining why The Body Shop® is supporting this campaign, Shriti Malhotra, COO – The Body Shop® India said, “We have never shied away from tackling controversial issues and causes that others would avoid. Indeed it was one of the dying wishes of our late founder, Dame Anita Roddick that the ‘modern-day slave trade’ be brought to an end. We are truly thankful to all the people who signed the petition for their incredible support for this campaign and are very proud to be handing this petition over to the government on their behalf in July. The sheer number of signatures clearly demonstrates that people in this country really care about the issue of Trafficking!”

This petition activity is being replicated in some 50 countries around the world where  The Body Shop® has a presence. Globally petition signatures currently stand at over 6 million, making this the largest petition ever championed by The Body Shop®. Once presented to their national governments all of these handprints will be amalgamated and presented as a global petition to the United Nations later this year.

The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People Campaign has had immense impact, both in India and globally. Following are LANDMARK CHANGES IN THE LEGAL & POLITICAL SCENE IN INDIA DURING OUR CAMPAIGN:

  • India has ratified the UN convention against transnational organized crime and its three protocols, including one on preventing human trafficking. The Ratification of the UN Protocol against Sex Trafficking was The Body Shop® India’s first call to action in the petition campaign.
  • The Supreme Court observed that sex workers are also entitled to the protection of liberty. The Central Government and States/Union Territories have been directed to prepare schemes for giving technical/vocational training to sex workers and sexually abused women in all cities in India as per the apex court bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra.
  • The Union Home Ministry has decided to set up 355 anti-trafficking units spread across the country. Home Minister P. Chidambaram stated “Once all these units became operational it would help in reducing human trafficking.”
  • The Supreme Court of India passed a landmark directive, directing the Union Government and all State Governments and Union Territories to immediately take steps for elimination of child labour from Indian Circuses, for elimination of child trafficking and for rescue of child labour from circuses.

On the global front, it already has effected proactive change in Malta – whereby as of January 2011 new laws have been introduced which protect children and young people from sex trafficking. In Europe, legislation has also been positively strengthened by the signing of the new EU Directive on Trafficking by EU Justice Ministers in December 2010 – which introduced new laws for all of its member states with a particular emphasis on the trafficking of children and young people. The fifth Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York, hosted by Former US President Bill Clinton cited this campaign as ‘an exemplary approach to addressing a specific global challenge’. Additionally the International Campaigns Director of The Body Shop®, Christopher Davis was recently awarded the United Nation’s Business Leader’s Award to Fight Human Trafficking.

The Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People Campaign is supported by a host of national and international celebrities, including Nafisa Ali, Diya Mirza, Chitrangda Singh, Ambika Shukla, Arujn Kapoor, Anjali Kapoor, Leena, Samant Chauhan, Nida Mehmood, Rohit Chawla, Meher Bhasin, Uma Thurman, Nicole Kidman, Sienna Miller, Piers Morgan, Rob Lowe, Robert Pattinson, Sir Ben Kingsley to name but a few.

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