THE Constitution of India prohibits human trafficking and there are several laws in place to deter it. But it remains one of the largest organised crimes, with thousands of women and children trafficked every year. Data shows that most human trafficking victims, mainly women and girls, end up as sex workers. According to the National Crime Records Bureau report to Supreme Court in 2019, Mumbai and Kolkata had the highest cases of human trafficking in women and children, mainly for sexual exploitation, child labour and forced marriage.
A 2014 research report by Dasra says that approximately 16 million women are victims of sex trafficking in India a year. Almost 40% of them are adolescents and children.
Lack of proper implementation of laws and low conviction rates are the main reasons for the increasing number of cases of sex trafficking in India. For instance, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs admitted in Parliament that states like Assam, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, Goa, Maharashtra, Odisha and Punjab did not see a single conviction in human trafficking cases in 2020 despite hundreds of accused going into trial.
Several nonprofits are working in the field to curb the menace of human trafficking. Here are 10 Indian NGOs that are involved in the prevention, rescue and rehabilitation of human trafficking survivors.
HELP rescues and rehabilitates human trafficking victims with a particular focus on children. It operates among the most vulnerable sections in Guntur and the Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh. The organisation estimates that around 500,000 children are forced into the sex trade every year in India. And they also face physical violence and are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS.
It is involved in the campaign, advocacy, and sensitisation of various stakeholders on the issue. Socio-economic reintegration of the trafficked victims is also important for HELP. To help the victims of sex trafficking, it has set up rehabilitation centres in the state. It also runs night-care centres, where they take care of the children of sex workers during working hours. You can donate here so that HELP can continue its fight against the menace of human trafficking.
It is one of the frontline organisations in Mumbai in conducting intelligence-based operations with the assistance of the police to rescue sex trafficking victims in brothels across the city. Founded in 2000, the nonprofit has saved over 5,000 sex trafficking victims in various parts of the country. Rescue Foundation’s legal team works with public prosecutors to convict perpetrators and tries to get compensation for victims.
The foundation has four care homes in Maharashtra and Delhi where human trafficking survivors are rehabilitated, and several girls are repatriated to their families. Rescue Foundation also facilitates the repatriation of rescued sex trafficking survivors to countries like Bangladesh, Nepal and Thailand. At the Foundation’s homes, girls and women receive education, healthcare, counselling, various forms of vocational and skills training, and legal aid. You can show your support against human trafficking by donating here.
The NGO registered as Waste Management Society works at the grassroots level to fight human trafficking and other forms of exploitation. Vihaan works with social workers, counsellors, lawyers and researchers to fight the menace of human trafficking with a victim-centric, end-to-end approach to facilitate rescue, access to legal support and rehabilitation, and reintegration of survivors.
Vihaan works across the country, and it is not limited to sexual exploitation alone. They rescue trafficked children working as bonded labour, domestic help and beggars. You can support Vihaan in its fight against all forms of exploitation by donating here.
The Varanasi-based NGO fights child prostitution, second-generation prostitution, trafficking of women, and forced labour. Working primarily in north India, the organisation was started in 1993 by Ajeet Singh when he adopted three children of a woman from a red-light area at the age of 17.
Guria’s strategy involves supporting ageing victims of sex trafficking and forced prostitution, as well as adolescents. They aim to free women and their children from brothels by ending their dependency on the criminal nexus involving drugs, sexual exploitation, mafias, police and politicians. Besides helping the survivors get justice, Guria supports and rehabilitates them.
It is actively involved in advocating government policy on the issue and works closely with law enforcement agencies to prevent and rescue trafficking victims. The organisation also runs Bal Kendra for the children living in red-light areas. You can support Guria’s efforts by donating here.
Prajwala is a Hyderabad based NGO devoted to eradicating forced prostitution and sex trafficking. Founded in 1996 by Sunitha Krishnan and Brother Jose Vetticatil, the organisation actively works in prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and advocacy to combat trafficking and restore dignity to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
Besides transition centres for children of women in prostitution, Prajwala runs crisis counselling centres in police stations and a production-cum-training unit for economic rehabilitation. They also have a therapeutic shelter home for sex-trafficked women and children, most of whom are HIV positive.
Out of its 200 employees, 70% are survivors themselves. Prajwala also forms partnerships with local communities, civil society, corporate agencies and government bodies on various aspects of prevention, protection and prosecution throughout India and the world. You can show your support by donating to Prajwala.
According to Vipla Foundation, after the Covid pandemic, women in sex work and victims of trafficking are now at greater risk of “re-trafficking” as they are more vulnerable to indebtedness, violence and exploitation than ever before. The rehabilitated survivors of trafficking have lost their jobs, and the fear is that they may go back to their previous profession and again get exploited.
Vipla Foundation’s project aims to bridge the skill gaps between the women in prostitution and those rescued by providing self-employment opportunities. The nonprofit works very closely with the government and other NGOs to implement, support, and scale its programmes. Help Vipla reach out to more victims in need of help by donating here.
As the name suggests, the My Choices Foundation provides women and children from low-income backgrounds and others who face various kinds of abuse and exploitation. My Choices believes that by empowering women and girls, and making them change agents, they can ensure an environment that is helpful for survivors of human and sex trafficking and their families.
Since 2014, the Operation Red Alert project of My Choices Foundation has been working to end sex trafficking by preventing girls from vulnerable communities from falling prey to it. Based on research that looked into traffickers who buy and sell girls for sex, the organisation developed the Safe Village Program, which empowered local communities at the village level. It also runs a Red Alert Helpline -1800 419 8588 to prevent human trafficking. The efforts have led to a considerable decrease in trafficking cases. Donate here and bring some light into the lives of human trafficking victims.
This Mumbai-based nonprofit runs initiatives to rescue, protect, and rehabilitate human trafficking victims in the city and outside. It also works to prevent second-generation trafficking of sex trafficking victims. It works with several organisations across the country and educates communities on how they can stop human trafficking from taking place. Prerana also rehabilitates sex trafficking survivors by skilling them to take up jobs and lead a dignified life.
Prerna’s model for Anti-Human Trafficking (AHT) campaign is recognised as one of the most successful strategies to address the issue. To achieve this, it works with state governments to come up with various schemes to help survivors and policies against traffickers. You can support Prerna and its efforts by donating here.
The organisation empowers underprivileged children and youth through education and skills training. While working for the welfare of the youth in tribal areas of Jharkhand, Development Focus noticed that human trafficking, particularly that of underage tribal girls, was a significant issue.
According to the NGO, lack of basic education and traditional beliefs/practises have played a role in the exploitation. Development Focus has a project that addresses the root causes of poverty leading to the trafficking of girls for sex and labour by providing education from a holistic perspective to bring them out of poverty and misery and transform their lives. The organisation has launched a Basic Education Programme in 20 districts of Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, among the most marginalised communities. You can help Development Focus to carry on with their service to society by donating here.
10. Oasis India
A key focus area for Oasis India is working against human trafficking by working closely with the police, railway protection force and child welfare committees. It has prevented and rescued hundreds of sex trafficking survivors for almost three decades.
Oasis India began its work in India in 1993 in Mumbai and is now in several states and cities, including Bangalore and Chennai. Oasis currently runs eight hubs across four locations in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Punganur. The organisation also works in areas like education, health, skilling and others. You can support Oasis India by donating here.
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Kumara has been a professional journalist for over 15 years with stints in The Telegraph and Reader’s Digest. He grew up hating maths and physics. He is a post-graduate in history. Kumara believes that cricket and Seinfeld have answers to most questions that life throws at you.