‘We boarded the train and after 2 days we reached Mumbai. I was given a cold drink but after that I don’t remember a thing. I woke up in a room with 3 other girls. A few hours later some men came in and one pointed at me, is stare really scared me and they were all laughing. One of my aunts friend’s told me that I have to go with this new man as he had paid money for me. When I asked where my aunt was, they told me that she had sold me to them and left. The other girls were also brought here to be sold’
According to last years United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report, 'Anti Human Trafficking, 2013', more than 19,000 women and children were reported to be missing from West Bengal, India, out of which only 6,000 have been rescued.
West Bengal is one of the most vulnerable places for trafficking to take place within India, as it serves as a central location both for intrastate trafficking and international trafficking. One of the issues which needs to be dealt with in regards to trafficking in West Bengal is the fact that girls and women who have been trafficked remain vulnerable even after their rescue as they are often unable to develop the skills and abilities needed to positively transform their lives.
In cooperation with Global Human Rights Defence, the Jabala Action Research Organization launched a year-long project, “A New Life, A New Chance” in West Bengal in 2013 in order to support girls and women who have been victims of human trafficking. The project aims to equip women with skills and abilities to effectively integrate them into society. By providing education and training workshops, the project aims to empower the participants and enable them to become self-reliant by earning a livelihood. The ultimate goal of the project is to allow the participants to be financially independent in the long term.
Through “A new chance, a new life” 50 individuals have taken part in vocational skills training which includes embroidery and sari making (a south Asian dress) and herbal gardening as well as academic classes where they are taught literacy skills and about their human rights. Since the project was completed, 23 participants have found employment as outreach workers in hospitals, hotel workers and 15 participants have started earning an income from Sari making and gardening work.
"A new chance, a new life” is an essential project which aims to rehabilitate victims of trafficking through empowerment and providing a strong support system. Global Human Rights Defense is proud to have been able to facilitate this project with funding and resources which has assisted in realizing the goals of the project.