Building Resilience of Survivors of Trafficking

From Policy to Practice: Charting the Road towards Implementation of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Building Resilience of Survivors of Trafficking

Delhi, 11th July 2023 – Community-based rehabilitation is a crucial factor in integrating survivors of human trafficking into their communities, reducing the stress and trauma they have endured, with the need of the hour in policymaking being a transition from survivor informed measures to ones that are survivor-led. This was the key takeaway during a policy webinar organized jointly by Civil20 Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Working Group, the Indian Leadership Forum Against Trafficking (ILFAT), and Chase India.

The webinar highlighted ILFAT’s policy recommendation to C20, which emphasizes the reintegration of trafficking survivors through a community-based approach, focusing on awareness, education, healthcare, mental health services, employment opportunities, and financial inclusion. It shed light on the benefits of CBR for survivors, including livelihood training, education, and healthcare. This recommendation was endorsed during the Civil20 Gender Equality and Disability Working Group Summit, held between April 22nd and 23rd, 2023. During a panel discussion titled, “From Policy to Practice: Charting the Road towards Implementation of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in Building Resilience of Survivors” experts discussed best practices and challenges in this approach.

In a statement Vijay K Nambiar, Principal Coordinator, Civil20 India said, “Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights and a crime that undermines the very fabric of our society. It is a heinous crime that steals freedom from its victims, perpetuating a cycle of oppression and despair, and the key to eradicating human trafficking lies in uplifting and empowering women. Only through our collective efforts, rooted in respect, empowerment, and comprehensive action, can we put an end to this modern-day slavery and ensure a future where every woman, girl, and child can thrive free from the chains of exploitation.”

During the webinar, Sunita Kar, a survivor and leader of ILFAT, shared her personal experiences and highlighted the paramount importance of Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in safeguarding survivors’ mental and physical well-being. She underscored the urgency of raising awareness to promote the widespread adoption and normalization of CBR to combat social stigma. Sunita said, “CBR holds immense significance for survivors, as it empowers them to rebuild their lives within their chosen community. By providing essential skill-based training, educational opportunities, employment prospects, and affordable, accessible physical and mental healthcare, CBR enables survivors to live a life of dignity.”

The discussion concluded with a commitment that trafficking survivors are the focal point of all policies relating to their reintegration and therefore their autonomy and empowerment should be the guiding lights for any such policy.

Dr. Bhavani Rao R, India Coordinator of Gender Equality working group of C20 said, “Human trafficking is a grave social ill that requires urgent global action, uniting political, societal, judicial, and community efforts to bring together multiple resources in addressing the complex re-entry and recovery needs of survivors. The root of this evil lies in poverty and not valuing human life. Education on its evils should start young. Through skills training, economic livelihood opportunities, compassionate healthcare, trauma-sensitive counseling, and impactful awareness campaigns, we can reduce human trafficking and amplify the voices of survivors. Women and girls play a crucial role in stopping human trafficking as empowered advocates, community leaders, and agents of change, working tirelessly to raise awareness, support survivors, and address the root causes that perpetuate this heinous crime.”

Suryaprabha Sadasivan, Vice President at Chase India, emphasized the pressing need for a comprehensive rehabilitation mechanism that effectively supports the long-term well-being of survivors. Commenting on the webinar, Sadasivan stated, “We have engaged in thoughtful discussions on recommendations that can significantly enhance the rehabilitation and reintegration of these survivors. To successfully implement Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR), we must adopt a multisectoral and intersectional approach. It is encouraging to witness the prioritization of this policy recommendation from ILFAT by CSOs, showcasing a shared commitment to establishing a successful model for the rehabilitation journey of survivors.”

About the Organizers:

The Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment working group is one of Civil20’s 16 working groups. Civil 20 is an official Engagement Group of the G20, providing a platform for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) worldwide to voice the people’s aspirations to G20 world leaders.

ILFAT is India’s first pan-national survivor forum, dedicated to strengthening and promoting survivor voices in all forms of human trafficking. Comprising 12 survivor collectives across 8 states and a membership of over 4,500 survivors, ILFAT is a robust federation.

Chase India is a leading research and public policy advisory firm specializing in various sectors, including Gender and Human Rights, Healthcare, Education, Climate Change and Sustainability, and Technology & Fintech practices.

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