By Team Sanjog
In the quiet corners of India, a remarkable transformation is taking place. Survivors of trafficking, once victims of a ruthless system, are rising up to become leaders in their own lives and communities. These individuals are finding the support they need to break free from the chains of victimhood and reclaim their power.
The Leadership Next Program at Sanjog is an initiative that offers support to survivors to fight back and claim justice. Through the program, Sanjog identified five essential services that are helping survivor-leaders in rewriting their narratives and inspiring change in their communities.
Facilitation to Collectivize and Claim Rights
Facilitation has been a crucial element in forging meaningful connections with survivors of trafficking. The role of the Sanjog team as facilitators has enabled survivor-leaders to make independent decisions while receiving the necessary support.
For survivors of trafficking, isolation and lack of information about their rights can be overwhelming obstacles. But with the support of dedicated facilitators, survivors are learning to come together, form groups, and assert their rights. Through survivor-led group sessions and community mobilization efforts, survivor leaders are discovering their collective voice and making formal claims for their rights and entitlements. In the face of adversity, they are finding strength in unity and advocating for themselves and their peers with newfound confidence.
Secretarial Services for Bureaucratic Due Diligences
Bureaucratic due diligences often involve filling out forms, submitting applications, and following up on deadlines. Survivor-leaders of trafficking may face challenges in navigating these administrative tasks, especially if they have limited literacy or exposure to administrative tasks.
Navigating the bureaucratic maze can be daunting, especially for survivors of trafficking.
But with secretarial services provided by those who have walked the same path, survivor-leaders are gaining the assistance they need to navigate the system. From preparing and submitting formal applications for housing, financial support, and health services, to documenting correspondence with authorities, survivor-leaders are receiving the administrative support they deserve from the Leadership Next facilitators. Accessing bureaucratic due diligences can be an empowering step for survivors of trafficking, as it allows them to assert their rights, gain legal recognition, and access necessary services
Legal Aid for Justice and Representation
Seeking justice and compensation can be a long and challenging journey for survivors of trafficking. But with the support of legal aid services, survivor-leaders are finding the representation they need to navigate the legal system.
Survivors of trafficking often require legal aid to seek compensation, hold traffickers accountable, and protect themselves from threats during legal proceedings. Legal representation is crucial in navigating complex legal processes and advocating for fair compensation. It also helps survivor-leaders challenge negligence or malpractice by law enforcement or prosecutors. Legal aid empowers survivors to assert their rights and seek justice for the harm they have suffered.
Led by survivor advocates who understand the complexities and emotional toll of seeking justice, these services provide invaluable support in claiming compensation from the State and representing survivors in court cases against traffickers and other perpetrators. With the unwavering support of their legal allies, survivor-leaders are learning to challenge negligence, malpractice, and intimidation, and are becoming powerful advocates for their rights.
Defense against Stigma and Prejudice
Stigma and prejudice against survivors can be harsh realities that hinder their reintegration into society. But with the assistance of trained social workers, survivor leaders are learning to defend themselves against these barriers.
Dedicated social workers play a vital role in supporting survivors of trafficking by providing counseling, mental health support, and facilitating access to social services and support networks. These professionals understand the unique challenges that survivors face, such as trauma, stigma, and discrimination, and are trained to provide empathetic and compassionate care.
Through their survivor-led approach, social workers work alongside survivor-leaders to empower them to build resilience, self-esteem, and confidence. They create a safe and supportive environment where survivor-leaders can express their emotions, share their experiences, and receive guidance on navigating social barriers.
With their expertise and compassionate care, social workers facilitate the healing process, enhance survivor-leaders’ mental well-being, and help them rebuild their lives.
Media Engagement and Advocacy
The power of the media in amplifying the voices of survivor-leaders cannot be underestimated. The Leadership Next program understands this and provides survivors with opportunities to engage with the media and share their stories. By raising their voices, survivor-leaders are not only creating awareness about the realities of trafficking, but also building accountability among duty bearers. Through media engagement and advocacy efforts, survivor-leaders are connecting with policymakers, challenging the status quo, and demanding change. Their voices, once silenced, are now resonating loud and clear, driving a movement for justice and empowerment.
The journey from victim to leader is not an easy one, but for survivors of trafficking, it is a transformation that is within reach. With the support of essential services provided by Sanjog, survivor leaders are finding the tools they need to break free from the cycle of victimhood and become leaders in their own lives and communities.