Jabala – A New Life, A New Chance


West Bengal, an Indian state neighbouring to Nepal, has one of the highest rates in trafficking of children for sexual exploitation or forced labour. The open border between Nepal and India makes West Bengal point of destination for children trafficked into sex work.[1] It is likely that a trafficking survivor is not aware of that she has been trafficked or if they are entitled to assistance or benefits because of her situation.

In West Bengal the rate of child marriage is  50%, one of the highest rates in India.  In many cases these child brides become victims of trafficking or are deserted by their husbands and are left socially vulnerable.

After they are rehabilitated, the vulnerability of children and young adults remains and they still subjected to risk of being re-trafficked. A girl who has been rescued in Mumbai, Delhi or other parts of Bengal is in need of support for social reintegration. It is likely that she was a minor when she was trafficked, therefore she would still remain young when rescued.. Therefore, she is in no way less vulnerable as the conditions are unchanged. Additionally, many of the survivors became HIV positive and do not have the means to control the disease.

Thus, the project A New Life, A New Chance aims to rehabilitate survivors of trafficking after providing them vocational trainings. Consequently, the survivors can earn their own livelihood. So far, job opportunities were created for 30 survivors and 7 of these survivors are now earning their livelihood in making Saris and by working in the Herbal Garden. The others are showing interest in the program as well.

The continued success of the project can be demonstrated by the story of Baby Khatun[2]. Baby was 14 years old and a student  of Baruipara High School when she was trafficked to Mumbai under the false pretences of a lucrative job and was then sold to a brothel in Pune. She was rescued by the police and sent to the Jabala Shelter Home where she received vocational trainings. Jabala and the Village Child Protection Committee helped with Baby’s rehabilitation and followed up on her situation regularly. She now works as an attendant and is earning her own livelihood.

There are many more victims like Baby who need support. The aim of this project is to support and assist them. The project “A New Life, A New Chance” will provide education to  and economic empowerment to 30 survivors with the goal of increasing the girls’ self-esteem, so

[2] For privacy reasons, the name of the victim has been changed