Grantham Rotarians to collect funds to support anti-slavery project in India

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Grantham Rotarians will be collecting money this weekend to support an anti-slavery project in India.

The Rotary Club of Grantham will be supporting the Kalimpong Project with members collecting funds at Sainsburys on Saturday (January 24). The club has already raised £1,000 and wants to reach its target of £2,000.

The whole project is being funded by a number of UK and European Rotary Clubs, as well as the local Rotary Club of Kalimpong, and is under the management of the local churches, who will provide the training and on-going support.

David Close, Chairman of the International Committee, Rotary Club of Grantham, said: “Although slavery is illegal now in every nation, it still exists in every country, including our own. It was estimated in November 2014 by the Walk Free Foundation that almost 36 million people are likely to be enslaved around the world. India is top of the list of countries, with an estimated 14.29 million slaves. The majority are children, who are increasingly being exploited by unscrupulous factory and plantation owners, and also to be “used” in the sex trade. Young girls who are sold for sex and labour are the second most lucrative commodity for organised crime, after drugs. But, unlike drugs, children can be sold for use today, and sold again tomorrow, and the next day.

“The Rotary Club of Grantham is determined to play its part in helping some of these children who have been forced into slavery. The Club selected a project in Bengal, north east India, known as “The Kalimpong Project”. In this part of India 3,000 girls went missing in 2011; their traffickers get up to US$1,000 for each girl, typically telling them and their parents that they will “get a good job in the city”. The local police and anti-trafficking units struggle to cope, with minimal resources.

“The Kalimpong Project is to free young girls from the clutches of the traffickers who have enslaved them, and to provide shelter and training in a worthwhile livelihood.

“A Vocational Training Centre (VTC) has already been built and equipped to train the girls in interior electrical wiring, tailoring, handicraft making, and horticulture and floriculture. The next stage is to complete this building by adding a second storey to create a shelter home on top of the VTC, where the girls can be safely housed, away from the risk of being snatched back by their exploiters.”