- In Search of Justice



Tafteesh is a coalition of survivors of human trafficking, lawyers, social workers, probation officers, psychologists, sociologists, researchers, investigation and rescue specialists, and human rights activists. Working together in this consortium based programme, the coalition aims to strengthen the systems of justice delivery to survivors of human trafficking, and strengthen survivors’ access to and participation in the systems of justice. In 2020, Tafteesh is being implemented in 3 states of India by 13 organizations, 2 survivor leaders’ collectives, and a team of mainstream lawyers, known as Tafteesh Lawyers, specialised in supporting survivors and their families to pursue justice that’s meaningful for them.


It started in 2013 as an exploratory study. Back in 2013, two member organizations of the present-day coalition collaborated to study cases of human trafficking where the survivors were rescued in Maharashtra and were returned to their homes in West Bengal.

Once the survivors were back home, they found that the traffickers who had procured, lured and transported them to their destination point and sold them were roaming around freely, while they had to go through months and years of detention in shelter homes.The survivors, with the help of their families and a human rights organisation, filed cases against these traffickers in their local police stations. They were subsequently faced with stigma in their communities, threats from the traffickers they had accused, and coerced by several local politicians, community leaders and police officers to withdraw their cases. Due to incomplete investigations, and other procedural gaps, most of the cases saw no conviction of the traffickers involved in the crime.

This research confirmed structural and systemic gaps in law enforcement and the judicial system, weaknesses in the law, and a policy vacuum. It pointed to a lack of resources and little accountability on the part of service providers. From this research it became apparent that while the crime of human trafficking is highly organized, in India, the anti-trafficking response mechanism was highly fractured and disorganised.

To address these gaps Tafteeshwas designed with the aim to strengthen legal and social systems for delivery of justice to survivors of human trafficking in India. It aims do so by –

  • Addressing the gaps in the criminal justice system that underlie poor conviction,
  • Enhancing survivors’ participationand enabling them to claim their entitlements in the justice delivery mechanism, and
  • Building capacities of Indian law enforcement agencies and strengthening the judicial system to improve investigation and prosecution methods appropriate to that of the organized crime of human trafficking.

The programme assumes that:

  • Increase in conviction of traffickers will increase the cost of trafficking, leading to a reduction of supply and demand of trafficked girls and women in prostitution.