Tafteesh: Access to Justice Programme for Survivors of Human Trafficking

  • Year : 2013-ONGOING

Supported by the Oak Foundation, in collaboration with the Rescue Foundation, Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra (GGBK), Sanjog, and Utthan

Tafteesh works with the criminal justice, social welfare, and rehabilitation systems to pursue justice for survivors of human trafficking. Since 2013, the programme has operated as a consortium of NGOs, community-based organizations, and survivor groups to strengthen inter-state coordination on case management, advocate for the enactment of a comprehensive anti-human trafficking law, and increase access to victim compensation schemes.

Our action research conducted in 2013 found that weak inter-state coordination enabled traffickers to enjoy impunity, while survivors of trafficking often faced poverty, stigma, and family violence after they return home, impeding their ability to recover and reintegrate. 

Tafteesh works with survivors, emphasizing a collective voice of survivors for advocacy, awareness-raising and capacity building. After 4 years of continuous engagement, in 2017, we witnessed significant systemic responses: law enforcement agencies in the source state of West Bengal began leveraging clauses from pertinent laws to investigate sex trafficking crimes; district administration issued health directives granting survivors free psychological and physical treatments; and numerous survivors successfully received victim compensation through legal processes. 

From 2016 onwards, Tafteesh moved into an advocacy-focused trajectory. Initiatives launched thus far have strengthened the social welfare system in West Bengal for survivors of trafficking and increased awarenesss of the necessity of legal reform. Tafteesh was a key stakeholder in the process of drafting and advocating for the national Trafficking of Persons Bill 2018. Moving forward, the programme will continue to integrate the voices of survivors in political engagement and policymaking, while providing legal assistance to victims for compensation and litigation.