Compensate Victims – Status of  access to state victim compensation schemes by survivors of human trafficking in India, 2022 Report

The primary question in the Compensate Victims, 2022 study is – has there been a qualitative shift in trafficking survivors’ access to justice between 2019 – 2022? The Compensate Victims 2019 study had shown less than 1% of the survivors rescued from trafficking over 10 years (2009 to 2019) were compensated. This study expands that exploration to understand the status of access to the State Victim Compensation Schemes in India by victims of human trafficking and identify the systemic barriers to access to compensation.

The findings of the study will inform stakeholders in the Anti–Human Trafficking ecosystem in designing programs to strengthen systems of justice and aid collaborative solution-building in order to develop an accessible, intersectional, and survivor-centric system of justice in India.

The findings suggest an urgent need for strengthening the systems of victim compensation for increasing access to survivors of all forms of trafficking. An essential factor that enables survivors to work in congruence with the justice system involves harm reparation and compensation that is provided to the survivors in question. Currently, via the state victim compensation schemes established under CrPC Section 357A, survivors of human trafficking can apply for compensation to the DLSA or trial court, or the trial court can recommend DLSA to disburse compensation to the survivor. According to CrPC 357A, the appropriate authorities are supposed to complete the entire proceedings of inquiry and decision to award compensation within 2 months of such an application. In certain cases, the compensation amount provides adequate impetus to a survivor to kick–start their own micro–entrepreneurial initiatives, allowing them to instill and reclaim a sense of financial independence and thereby exercise their agency.

  Download Compensate Victims 2022 Report     Download Executive Summary

Choices. Chances. Changes.

The stories of leadership of survivors of human trafficking are often just heard as stories- hardly ever as demands or needs to create a conducive environment for human beings to live. Survivors as leaders in the movement to prevent trafficking are vital now more than ever, as they have key insight into what is needed to improve policies and create meaningful interventions. With their lived experiences, these leaders can provide perspectives for government, business or any other organization who wants to take an informed approach by taking inputs from the survivor community at each stage of their program. To continue the anti-trafficking movement by making a shift from non-profit initiatives to survivor-led initiatives with mentoring organizations taking facilitation roles, results from this study will inform future strategies for Sanjog and other such organizations.   Download the report

Freedom Communities | Community Based Rehabilitation Programmes for Survivors of Trafficking

Sanjog is very pleased to share with the ecosystem this report of an Exploratory Analyses on Community Based Rehabilitation Programmes for Survivors of Trafficking, titled “Freedom Communities”.   This study aims to understand the trends in rehabilitation of survivors of trafficking and sexual violence, what is working, what is not, and what could be possible approaches that can be adopted to address survivors’ right to rehabilitation by NGOs, Philanthropists and State. The findings from this study are indicative of the need for a robust system for community based rehabilitation. Download the report

AHTU Watch – A National Study on the Status of Anti Human Trafficking Units in India (2010 – 2019)

In April 2006, the Central Government of India, through the Ministry of Home Affairs in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime took up a project on “Strengthening the law enforcement response in India against trafficking in persons through training and capacity building”, in order to raise awareness of law enforcement officers (police and prosecutors) on the problem of human trafficking and to build their capacity to better investigate and prosecute offenders perpetrating the crime. One of the objects of the project was the establishment of Anti Human Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and after introduction of AHTUs in five (5) states, positive outcomes were seen, showing that the AHTU model to investigate trafficking was effective.   Thereafter, in June 2010, the Central Government through the Ministry of Home Affairs issued an advisory notification with the subject “Comprehensive Scheme for Establishment of integrated Anti Human Trafficking Units and capacity building of responders, including Training of Trainers for strengthening the law enforcement response to human trafficking in India Plan”. State Governments across the country would notify AHTUs for all their districts that would be responsible for registration of complaints and investigation of all cases related to human trafficking. The AHTUs were given many responsibilities, making their mandate very wide. The Central Government specified that the AHTU would be the “field level functional unit to address human trafficking in a holistic manner”.

This study on AHTUs attempts to discern the ‘coverage’ or ‘reach’ of AHTUs across India, by enquiring as to whether AHTUs have or have not been notified across India, whether they are functional or not and to engage with an inquiry to explain gaps in the system that have been elucidated by the stakeholders. All of this information can help provide a snapshot of the prevalence, expertise and impact of AHTUs on the anti-trafficking system at large. The primary purpose that this report may serve is to assist the Government of India and governments of various states in deciding the most effective course of action in addressing human trafficking. It may also help anti trafficking activists and organisations decide on strategies to strengthen policy and its enforcement, and the performance of AHTUs in the country. Sanjog wishes to make every effort to make the research available to survivors of trafficking across India, for they are the primary owners and beneficiaries of this research.

We hope this research will also help those academics, researchers and activists who are often bewildered and cynical about entrustingthe addressal of human trafficking solely to law enforcement and the judiciary. This research affirms once again that progress is often incremental and also determined by the quality of engagement by civil society, non-profits and affected communities. Ultimately, Sanjog hopes that it will help strengthen the maturity of activism in this space as well.

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National Status of Victim Compensation for survivors of Trafficking in India

Stigma Watch Sanjog
This study on the status of victim compensation for survivors of trafficking inIndia is a result of curiosity, inquiry and a diligent four year long study by ateam of lawyers, social workers, activists and researchers. Whatis common between all the members and organisations in this initiative is that they are members of Tafteesh – a consortium programme on Access toJustice for Survivors of Human Trafficking ( It’s nearly a decade since Indiamade policy and budgetaryprovisions to ensure that victims ofphysical, sexual and psychologicaltorture – such as people who havesuffered rape or acid burns orhuman trafficking are financiallycompensated by the State. Thisstep is momentous because as anation, it shows a face of the Statethat assumes responsibility inprevention of violence againstchildren, against women, againstthe vulnerable. And takesresponsibility for the failure ofhaving been able to ensureprotection.This study intended to understand how has the state victim compensation schemes been implemented from responses of State Governments to RTIs filed by lawyers across India asking the following –
  1. Since notification of the victim compensation schemes in each of the states, how many survivors of human trafficking have been able to apply, and receive victim compensation?
  2. What has been the budgetary allocation made by central and state governments in each financial year since introducing CrPC section 357A in 2009 for implementation of the victim compensation schemes?
  3. How much compensation has been awarded and disbursed each financial year to survivors of trafficking?
  4. Under which heads of the schedule mentioned in the state victim compensation scheme has there been highest number of applications, and awarding of victim compensation?
Implementation of any policy inIndia, especially a welfare policytargeting the poor and thedisenfranchised runs into multiplechallenges. Law and policy makersmust have predicted that foreffective implementation of thispolicy, there will need to be efforts atall ends, to identify and removebottlenecks and stop-corks. Thisstudy and this report offersinformation, evidence and data, andanalysis on what has resulted in theunder-optimal implementation of thescheme. Hopefully, this report willtrigger conversations and actions,agreements and disagreements, allof which will lead to actions forimprovement in policy enforcementand accountability setting. Download the report

Stigma Watch

Stigma Watch Sanjog
Stigma Watch is a psycho-social study designed and undertaken by Sanjog to explore the understanding and experiences of stigma that survivors of sex-trafficking confront and report. The study aimed to identify and understand the different types and levels of stigma as it is felt by the survivors from within and from external stakeholders with an aim to design more appropriate and effective reintegration plans. The specific questions that the study asks are:
  1. What are the levels of the various kinds of stigma – enacted, perceived, and internalized- amongst survivors? What are the implications therein?
  2. What is the impact of stigma on the survivors? How does it presently impact their life chances?
  3. Who are the significant stigmatizers?
  4. What are the existent significant coping mechanisms? What are the implications therein?
Mixed methods of study ( a combination of qualitative & quantitative study methodologies) with the main aim of exploring the extent of stigma and identifying the stigmatizers in the lives of survivors of sex trafficking living in 16 blocks of North 24 Parganas in West Bengal, were used. The goal of this research is to develop an anti-stigma intervention enabling survivors to manage the intensity of different types stigma that they experience. The anti-stigma intervention is also expected to enable survivors while they negotiate social interactions in the most positive manner to reduce the intensity of harmful stigmatizers in their ecosystem (family, community and institutions). Download the report

Bringing it all back home

Bringing it all back home sanjog
Bringing It All Back Home is a research study of great perseverance and keen observation of the lives of girls who were reunited with their families after having been trafficked for sex work. The uniqueness of this study lies in what it doesn’t study as much as it lies in what it does. While reviewing literature on trafficking and women a lot was found on the incidence of trafficking, the trafficking experience and anti-trafficking efforts; but very little information in terms of an in-depth and holistic understanding of experiences of survivors of trafficking who are reunited with their families was found. This study fills this gap in knowledge by beginning the study from the point where the survivors are back in their families and communities post rescue from sex work. There is very little, if any, mention of their sex work experience in this study. Instead, what the reader will find is an almost exclusive focus on life post reunification. This research looks at the following key aspects:
  1. Societal reactions to the survivor’s return and her own efforts towards dealing with those with a view to fitting back into the role/s of a daughter/ sister/ mother/ wife/ friend/ colleague etc.
  2. The physical and mental health status of the survivor as per her own account, validated by a critical medical study, and an analysis of the implications of such conditions.
  3. A policy-praxis analysis, layered through the lens of policy makers and duty bearers responsible for the protection and empowerment of survivors, critically examining the availability and accessibility of services.
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Crossing Boundaries

Crossing Boundaries
Cross border mobility in children and adolescents between Bangladesh and India is usually recorded from the perspective of trafficking, with particular focus on sex trafficking in girls. However, there has been a steady, if not growing, incidence of boys crossing borders between Bangladesh and India. Although NGOs in India and Bangladesh possess anecdotal evidence related to Bangladeshi boys in India there is very little literature or an understanding on the nature of the phenomenon, the implications on children on the move across borders, the nature of interventions by NGOs in assisting children, policy and legal implications and the way boys crossing borders are affected. Correspondingly, there is practically no information on the reverse trend – Indian boys in Bangladesh. Crossing Boundaries explores the phenomenon of trafficking in boys and to build an understanding among the stakeholders on the issue thereby influencing state and NGO child protection policies and interventions. In particular, the study will inform policies and systems which facilitate the repatriation of boys across countries and suggest strategies to address vulnerabilities of boys to smuggling, trafficking and other forms of abuse, violence and exploitation. Download the report

Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

Crossing Boundaries
Where have all the Flowers Gone – is an evidence-based research which draws on the experiences of an anti-trafficking case management programme working in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The programme showed that if the assistance begins from the source areas / victims’ homes, then victims are often recovered even before they are sold into brothels; traffickers in the source areas (first procurers) can be arrested and evidence from destination points can be used to strengthen the case against them. And this has significant preventive potential – because the crime is made visible to the community at large. However, the programme’s experiences also raised questions about the wisdom of survivors returning to situations of deprivations and abuse – a context that had much to do with their being trafficked in the first place. While the study seeks hard evidence into the extent of trafficking of children and adolescents in the programme areas in West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, and scans the efficacy and efficiency of intervention strategies for prevention, protection, rescue and rehabilitation, and the scalability and sustainability of effective strategies, the poignancy of its title is brought home in the case histories – the individual tragedies of stolen lives, of forsaken futures. “Where Have All The Flowers Gone” : should be useful for development practitioners at national and international levels, researchers and academics, policy makers and influencers. In particular, this research should influence welfare policies targeting the poor in India, children and adolescents in particular, with a bias towards girls and women. Download the report

Let’s TalK – The potential of Social Communication

Crossing Boundaries
Study implemented by ORG Centre for Social Research in West Bengal and A C Nielsen in Bangladesh (both divisions of The Nielsen Company) In a rights-based context, communication is at the heart of child protection programming, whether in generating awareness of issues, building knowledge, challenging societal and political attitudes, or in facilitating convergence of efforts, and in making policy and action responsive to ground realities. Let’s Talk (2007) studies IEC tools developed in West Bengal and Bangladesh over the five years prior to publication of the study, as well as the processes of development, implementation, monitoring and dissemination of such tools by community based organizations. 73 NGOs participated in the study which identified, amongst other findings, that there was negligible development of communication tools by rural NGOs, that the existing tools under-represented particular issues and aspects, and that there was a marked lack of audience segmentation. The study, implemented by two research divisions of The Nielsen Company, includes a pilot exercise on developing social communication tools for anti-trafficking programmes and makes a number of recommendations which point to areas of growth and intersectional collaboration. Apart from informing programming strategies, this study could be of special interest to corporate houses, especially media and advertising agencies interested in bridging the gap between communication in development and the more ‘mainstream’ media.

Perilous passages: migration, mobility and child protection issues in Malda, West Bengal

Crossing Boundaries
In Malda, one of the poorest districts of West Bengal, migration, triggered by poverty and legitimized by social practice, is a ubiquitous phenomenon. Facilitated by an organized but unregulated racket of agents and touts, it is a process that represents risk-taking and a no-other-choice strategy for most migrants, with individual agency being exercised within asymmetrical networks of power. In this disenabling environment, children, children lead insecure lives, and – especially those from Scheduled Caste/ Scheduled Tribe and minority backgrounds – often fall prey to the lure of trafficking under the guise of a better life and income earning opportunities. Apart from studying the patterns of mobility and migration and their nexus with organized systems of exploitation, Perilous Passages – highlights the efforts and interventions of local community based organizations in bridging critical gaps in the system. The document is essential reading for those interested in linking larger macro issues of development with ground realities, and is recommended for development professionals, researchers and policy makers.

Bond free – A study on boys rescued from bonded labour

Crossing Boundaries
Bond Free is an action research that critically examines the process of rescue and rehabilitation of 17 children of West Bengal from bonded labour. Citing shoddy government responses and inept civil society interventions, Bond Free reveals a situation that not only overlooks the best interests of children, but exposes them to a second line of exploitation within the family and community. Conducted with the purpose of strengthening critical gaps in existing systems and procedures of rescue and rehabilitation so as to protect children from being further exploited, the study clearly shows that the continuum from rescue to rehabilitation cannot simply be viewed in a social vacuum but needs to be understood in the context of human poverty, compulsive migration and community values. Bond Free provides a material for reflection and purposive action for development practitioners working on child right issues, as well as for civil servants and policy makers in the region.

Foot soldiers at the frontier: community based organizations against trafficking

Crossing Boundaries
A reflexive learning tool, Foot Soldiers At The Frontier documents a child protection project that risks working with grassroots partners who, with no prior interest or experience in combating trafficking in children and adolescents, innovate a host of locally relevant preventive strategies and actions that tackle trafficking at its very source – in families and local communities. A process document, Foot Soldiers At The Frontier aims to inform and educate NGOs and CBOs in the region, as well as support and funding agencies, offering not so much copy book perfect results, but possibilities for future action.

Man, Woman and Child

Crossing Boundaries
Man – the provider, the protector, the penetrator and the predator – as per the classical / traditional paradigm of masculinity. Woman – the receiver, the nurturer, the penetrated and the victim – as per the classical / traditional paradigm of feminity. Child – the dependant, needing protection, provisions and guidance – as per the classical / traditional paradigm of childhood. Man, Woman and Child studies how this triangle of paradigms is not just ever-present in red-light areas– as centres for brothel-based prostitution are popularly termed – but is also imbibed in the way prostitution is understood by organizations implementing anti-trafficking and child protection programmes in red-light areas. And how these paradigms are woven into the positions taken by such organizations – thereby influencing the manner in which interventions are designed. Apart from recommending capacity building with such organizations to help them explore their own locations / biases about prostitution and the programmatic implications about such standings, the study also puts forward the need for a separate, in-depth study on the factors of resilience for women in prostitution and their children, in order to inform effective and efficient psychosocial programmes for these population groups. It also recommends capacity building of organizational management towards ensuring community participation in red-light area programming.