At a time when war is being waged worldwide against the trafficking of men, women, boys and girls, the global community has often felt the need for more information on the issue of human trafficking, its history, its present, its future and its links with countless other issues that affect people.
Numerous studies have been conducted, thousands of conferences and seminars have been held and dozens of proposals to work on the issue of human trafficking are floated each day. Sometimes the magnitude of the events and publications actually seem larger than the issue. Almost everywhere, the need for sharing knowledge, exchanging good practices and information dissemination have been emphasised.
There are several human trafficking information databanks globally and in Nepal efforts have been made to create information pools, housed either by the government or activist NGOs with support from the UN and other agencies.
And then there's www.childtrafficking.com. This website was conceived in Nepal and is the brainchild of a host of Nepali and international anti-trafficking and anti-exploitation activists who dared dream of creating a platform for the public to learn and share information in order to bring about much-needed change against trafficking and rights abuses and violations.
Reinhard Fichtl of Terre Des Hommes, one of the website's editors, calls it "a 'people's website', based on a solid scientific foundation". www.childtrafficking.com presently has close to 1,000 documents, all related to the trafficking of women and children. This makes it the largest compilation of web links on human trafficking and related issues such as the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, HIV/AIDS prevention and ethical considerations. The website presently hosts more than 200 studies and compilation of national and international laws, instruments, policies and practices.
An interesting aspect of the site is the effort made by the editors to collect first hand accounts of the experiences of ground level activists and workers across the region. "What we want is to allow 'real' activists to share their experiences through this website. Whether their write ups are grammatically and linguistically correct is not important," explains Fichtl, who is also coming up with a related interactive CD-ROM in the near future.
In our race against time, we need information to be avaliable easily, effortlessly and quickly. For some of us Nepalis working against human trafficking in small ways, it is worrying to see the distraction and dilution of the real issues caused by a lack of coordination and effort. Academia, researchers, journalists, practitioners, government agencies, NGOs, the UN and just about anyone else who cares and wants to make a difference will be able to come together on common ground via www.childtrafficking.com. Log on! It's worth every second of your time.