Therapeutic Community For Victims of Sex Trafficking

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Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) is one of the most disparaging crimes crippling India’s social development and economy and threatening the dignity and security of women and children. In this context, the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are no exception. These states continue to constitute the core destination areas for the victimization of trafficked women and children for economic profiteering at the cost of their human rights. 

Despite the absence of official statistics on CSE in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, civil society organisation estimates suggest that one out of every four victims rescued from CSE is a child and 60 per cent of all rescued children from CSE are HIV positive. Further, 75 per cent of females in the Telugu region between the ages of 15-35 years are found to be engaged in sex work.[1] Reports in the print and digital news media also indicate that sex trafficking of both vulnerable women and children is progressively on the increase. 

Given the scale of the issue, the government has not placed due attention and priority on the rescue and rehabilitation of CSE victims in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In addition, there is a lack of systems and capacity to conduct MEL and research, weak and uncoordinated monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) of existing programs and no investment in empirical research to understand gaps and issues. 

Rehabilitation of trafficking survivors remains the most persistent challenge within the current legislative framework. Rescued victims require specialised support services to recover from and overcome the years of trauma-induced mental health issues, physical atrocities and social stigma attached to being former sex slaves. 

In the absence of statutory rehabilitation that ensures complete and sustainable reintegration into society, CSE victims, even if removed temporarily from their immediate environment marked by social, economic, sexual, psychological and physical extremities, are highly likely to end up in the same vicious cycle of sex trafficking, either through the nexus of same perpetrators or new agents who are on the lookout for feeding on their aggravated vulnerabilities for the second time around. On-ground organisations lament that CSE victims who only receive piece-meal assistance and support post-rescue remain uncertain about their future prospects in absence of hope for alternate opportunities to sustain themselves and end up going back to sex slavery. The circumstances surrounding this lack of choice with CSE victims are marked by haplessness and isolation due to lack of specialised support services for destigmatizing their identities and acute availability of comprehensive rehabilitation measures. Given the scale of CSE in both Telugu states, the following issues have emerged:

  • There is no comprehensive protection and rehabilitation policy in place for CSE victims, either in the states or at the national level. Nor there are adequate budgetary allocations in the two states. In fact, Andhra Pradesh does not even have a budget line for CSE rehabilitation facilities and services.  
  • Rescue operations for removing victims of CSE from situations of abuse are ill-conceived and ill-executed due to a lack of comprehensive understanding of the crime and tactical expertise and a lack of industry standards for conducting such raids and rescues.
  • Institutional infrastructure (shelter homes/protective and rehabilitative homes/child care institutions) for rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of CSE is insufficient and severely ill-equipped to address their complex needs for recovery and effective, holistic rehabilitation, whose numbers are advancing with each passing year. As per an article published in the Indian Journal of Gender Studies, there is a lack of comprehensive protection services such as psychological counselling from trained counsellors through the Ujjawala and Swadhar schemes. This issue was further exacerbated in 2014 after the bifurcation of the Telugu region between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 2014, where most rehabilitation homes fell under Telangana’s territory and Andhra Pradesh was left with close to none. At present, both states have 5 shelter homes each, for women.
  • There is a severe gap in meaningful and relevant data to even gain an understanding of the gaps and barriers in the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of CSE victims. A study suggests that though there is abundant literature on trafficking worldwide as well as in South Asia, we still do need region-specific and locally-contextualised data that will yield theoretical and empirical insights, and lead to relevant policy interventions.

Sex trafficking is a multi-dimensional problem especially with regard to its impact on the lives of the victims. The tormenting experiences of being betrayed, sold and exploited by the people around (largely includes pimps, brothel owners and customers) takes a long-term toll on the victims. This traumatic situation combined with sexually transmitted diseases, chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, alcohol and drug addiction complicates the cycle of rehabilitation. Hence, the process of rehabilitation has to be an interlinked chain of psychological healing, vocational empowerment, economically viable and socially acceptable. 

In order to address the physical, emotional and psychological brokenness of the sex-trafficked victims, Prajwala formulated a holistic, therapeutic approach to support the rehabilitation process. The overall aim is to help the victims to overcome their trauma by providing them with psychological and coping skills and tools required to regain stability to lead a normal life. Therefore, the rehabilitation in Prajwala is a blend of psychological healing, civic empowerment and social identity. The three-pronged stages of rehabilitation spearheaded by Prajwala include:

  • Psychological Rehabilitation: Trauma Care, Counselling, Psychiatric Care
  • Economic Rehabilitation: Life-Skills, Employability Training, Education/Livelihood program
  • Civic Rehabilitation: Aadhar Card, Bank Account, Interim Relief, Compensation

A therapeutic community as a safe shelter has been established that provides holistic rehabilitation and has been instrumental in the social reintegration support of thousands of victims

Pledge your support towards helping 600 victims of sex trafficking, donate now!

About The Beneficiary Organisation

Commercial sexual exploitation (CSE) is one of the most disparaging crimes crippling India’s social development and economy and threatening the dignity and security of women and children. In this context, the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are no exception. These states continue to constitute the core destination areas for the victimization of trafficked women and children for economic profiteering at the cost of their human rights. 

Despite the absence of official statistics on CSE in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, civil society organisation estimates suggest that one out of every four victims rescued from CSE is a child and 60 per cent of all rescued children from CSE are HIV positive. Further, 75 per cent of females in the Telugu region between the ages of 15-35 years are found to be engaged in sex work.[1] Reports in the print and digital news media also indicate that sex trafficking of both vulnerable women and children is progressively on the increase. 

Given the scale of the issue, the government has not placed due attention and priority on the rescue and rehabilitation of CSE victims in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In addition, there is a lack of systems and capacity to conduct MEL and research, weak and uncoordinated monitoring, evaluation and learning (MEL) of existing programs and no investment in empirical research to understand gaps and issues. 

Rehabilitation of trafficking survivors remains the most persistent challenge within the current legislative framework. Rescued victims require specialised support services to recover from and overcome the years of trauma-induced mental health issues, physical atrocities and social stigma attached to being former sex slaves. 

In the absence of statutory rehabilitation that ensures complete and sustainable reintegration into society, CSE victims, even if removed temporarily from their immediate environment marked by social, economic, sexual, psychological and physical extremities, are highly likely to end up in the same vicious cycle of sex trafficking, either through the nexus of same perpetrators or new agents who are on the lookout for feeding on their aggravated vulnerabilities for the second time around. On-ground organisations lament that CSE victims who only receive piece-meal assistance and support post-rescue remain uncertain about their future prospects in absence of hope for alternate opportunities to sustain themselves and end up going back to sex slavery. The circumstances surrounding this lack of choice with CSE victims are marked by haplessness and isolation due to lack of specialised support services for destigmatizing their identities and acute availability of comprehensive rehabilitation measures. Given the scale of CSE in both Telugu states, the following issues have emerged:

  • There is no comprehensive protection and rehabilitation policy in place for CSE victims, either in the states or at the national level. Nor there are adequate budgetary allocations in the two states. In fact, Andhra Pradesh does not even have a budget line for CSE rehabilitation facilities and services.  
  • Rescue operations for removing victims of CSE from situations of abuse are ill-conceived and ill-executed due to a lack of comprehensive understanding of the crime and tactical expertise and a lack of industry standards for conducting such raids and rescues.
  • Institutional infrastructure (shelter homes/protective and rehabilitative homes/child care institutions) for rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of CSE is insufficient and severely ill-equipped to address their complex needs for recovery and effective, holistic rehabilitation, whose numbers are advancing with each passing year. As per an article published in the Indian Journal of Gender Studies, there is a lack of comprehensive protection services such as psychological counselling from trained counsellors through the Ujjawala and Swadhar schemes. This issue was further exacerbated in 2014 after the bifurcation of the Telugu region between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana 2014, where most rehabilitation homes fell under Telangana’s territory and Andhra Pradesh was left with close to none. At present, both states have 5 shelter homes each, for women.
  • There is a severe gap in meaningful and relevant data to even gain an understanding of the gaps and barriers in the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of CSE victims. A study suggests that though there is abundant literature on trafficking worldwide as well as in South Asia, we still do need region-specific and locally-contextualised data that will yield theoretical and empirical insights, and lead to relevant policy interventions.

Sex trafficking is a multi-dimensional problem especially with regard to its impact on the lives of the victims. The tormenting experiences of being betrayed, sold and exploited by the people around (largely includes pimps, brothel owners and customers) takes a long-term toll on the victims. This traumatic situation combined with sexually transmitted diseases, chronic depression, suicidal tendencies, alcohol and drug addiction complicates the cycle of rehabilitation. Hence, the process of rehabilitation has to be an interlinked chain of psychological healing, vocational empowerment, economically viable and socially acceptable. 

In order to address the physical, emotional and psychological brokenness of the sex-trafficked victims, Prajwala formulated a holistic, therapeutic approach to support the rehabilitation process. The overall aim is to help the victims to overcome their trauma by providing them with psychological and coping skills and tools required to regain stability to lead a normal life. Therefore, the rehabilitation in Prajwala is a blend of psychological healing, civic empowerment and social identity. The three-pronged stages of rehabilitation spearheaded by Prajwala include:

  • Psychological Rehabilitation: Trauma Care, Counselling, Psychiatric Care
  • Economic Rehabilitation: Life-Skills, Employability Training, Education/Livelihood program
  • Civic Rehabilitation: Aadhar Card, Bank Account, Interim Relief, Compensation

A therapeutic community as a safe shelter has been established that provides holistic rehabilitation and has been instrumental in the social reintegration support of thousands of victims

Pledge your support towards helping 600 victims of sex trafficking, donate now!

About The Beneficiary Organisation

credit-cardAll credit/debit cards
net-bankingNet Banking
upi
phonepay
gpay
paytm