Championing Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts in North India

First published on: 7th November 2023

We were delighted to welcome The Rt Rev'd Sameer Khimla, Bishop of Durgapur and Raja Moses, Programme Director, to the USPG offices on Wednesday 1st November. Staff and external guests from organisations such as the Anglican Communion and A21 joined together as Bishop Sameer presented the work that the diocese has been undertaking to fight and prevent instances of human trafficking. 

The Diocese of Durgapur in Northern India is close to the border of Bangladesh. Because of its location and economic climate, many girls and women are vulnerable to being trafficked. The Church in North India has witnessed firsthand the devastation that human trafficking has had on communities and feels called to work against it “in the light of Christ”. 

Bishop Sameer shared (with her permission) the story of a young woman in the local area. She had an abusive upbringing and had been married off at a young age to a much older man. The marriage was abusive and she in turn was sold into the sex trade by her husband. A team from the Diocese of Durgapur was able to work with local authorities to locate her and managed to bring her home. Even though she is now safe, her journey ahead will not be easy. However, she is doing well and has started skills training provided by CNI with the view to support herself long-term.

The Anti-Human Trafficking Programme in Durgapur has been running for over ten years and they not only work alongside local authorities, but also with other faith groups like the Muslim community to confront the issue in the most effective way possible. USPG has been proud to support this work which includes the running of St Michael’s Safe Home, where girls who have been trafficked can live safely whilst learning life and work skills so they can be self-reliant moving forward. 

The approach that they have taken has now been adopted by the whole province as well as by the Church in Bangladesh. Bishop Sameer said, “I believe these problems need to be challenged, prevention is the key”. 

USPG continues to journey alongside the diocese as they undertake this vital, life-saving work. In the words of Regional Manager for Asia & Middle East, Rev'd Davidson Solanki, "the church is shining its light and it's very bright."

Click here to read more about CNI's Anti-Human Trafficking Programme