Dimapur, September 15: A webinar entitled ‘North East India Youth Summit’ was held on September 12. The summit was an initiative of UCFNEI (United Christian Forum North East India) in collaboration with HCF (Hope Charitable Foundation). The special invitees of the summit were NERYC, (North East Regional Youth Commission) which comprises of youth directors, animators and youth leaders from all States of North East India.
The meeting was chaired by Bishop Thomas Pulloppillil, the president of UCFNE. Bishop Thomas in his presidential address said, “Human trafficking is affecting the youth of our region, we are united against this fight. We need to become more and more aware of this reality”.
Stating that the region has become one of the most sought after hot spots for this modern slavery, the Bishop said majority of the youth who are taken are girls and urged everyone to strategize their plans and take up this clarion call to save our youth.
The moderator of the event was Prof. Lalrindiki Ralte from Aizawl Theological College, Mizoram.
The opening and closing hymn was presented by Wan Dame Chwa Sumer and Hacany Dasuk Sumer from Carmel Attard Symphonic Choir, from Shillong, Meghalaya.
The welcome address was given by Sr.Bernadette Kropi MSMHC, who heads NERYC.
The keynote address was delivered by Jimmy Laltlanmawia, the CEO of Social Justice and Development India, Aizawl, Mizoram. He cited the examples of Kids sent to Coimbatore from North East India; there is no doubt that our youth are vulnerable and we need to educate our people.
The first resource person, Dr. M. Devasitham, head of strategic development, International Justice Mission, Chennai presented paper on cyber trafficking. He started his presentation with the components of human trafficking: the acts, the means and various purposes. The purposes of human trafficking: labour, sex and organ sale.
He said social media platforms are used to lure youth through chatting and fraudulent calls. The typical cases of youth taken from Northeast to Siliguri and then to Delhi was an eye-opening narrative, he said adding, similarly, youth from Northeast is taken to various destinations in India and abroad.
The International borders of North East make this work more lucrative, he added.
He further said the employment impact of COVID 19 has accelerated the work of traffickers as many of them target the vulnerabilities of the situation and persons. The youth who lost the jobs are belonging to the age group of 22 to 30. Hotels and malls are shutdown, the tourism sector incurred huge losses and added to these push factors there is also desperation for livelihood and sustenance.
The second resource person, Mathew Joseph dealt with ‘Artificial Intelligence in Social media and its impact on youth. Internet platforms can scan and predict behaviour through deep learning, analyse data, identify the photo and often can also sell the data to others. The browsers often come up with ads that are suitable for the behaviour of a person, bank accounts can be accessed through phones, modeling offers and movie offers are some of the common activities, he stated.
To protect the youths, he advised not to accept unknown friends. He also said whatever is posted on social media can never be deleted as they are all registered on servers. The dangers include false marketing, email ids are taken from sites, personal ids and phone numbers on social media can be taken by others. Dr. B J Syiemlieh, PCI Meghalaya responding to the presentations said, “We need to provide our youth alternatives and guidance. Traffickers are well planned, Can we use social media to counter the cyber attacks on our youth.”
In the words of Bosco Debbarma, the NERYC Youth President although there are difficulties to identify the traffickers on social media, the responsibility cannot be ignored.
Jeremai Krong, Youth Advisor of Catholic Youth Association Miao Diocese, Arunachal Pradesh responded, “How do we pass this information to our youth in our villages is a challenge and a responsibility for youth animators and workers. Our youth also need to be active on social media to counter this menace of our society.”
The closing hymn entitled “we shall overcome sang in different languages of North East region was a sign of hope and a unified voice to counter human trafficking. The popular song sang by the youth affirmed that “we can and we shall overcome human trafficking by human efforts in solidarity and by God’s grace.” (Page News Service)