Counseling a survivor of trafficking (one with face hidden).
At Swanchetan we started coming across victims of trafficking when called by police after they would rescue a survivor from the clutches of a trafficker. The survivor, often terrified, would find it difficult to speak about what had happened to her and would most often be mute and plead to let her go.
As Swanchetan began to be called for their counseling we realized that they happened to be one of the most challenging and amongst the riskiest groups and needed intensive interviewing in depth to relate their stories.
It was also realized by us that there is no documentation of the trauma undergone by them and no effective model for their counseling as a result of which their caretakers could not bond with them as they could not understand them and deal with them with compassion.
Keeping this in mind, Swanchetan conducted a nationwide research study with the support of GTIP, Washington and UNIFEM to map and assess the post traumatic stress disorder faced by the survivors of trafficking and sexual assault across India. Nearly 250 survivors participated in the project voluntarily and gave details regarding their trauma of being trafficked and assaulted.
The study was done while facing many risks and challenges as this is a very difficult group to access and more so to talk about themselves. Access to the survivors was very difficult in many situations and sometimes the support systems designed to protect them shied away from sharing their reality as they felt exposed.
Despite this the study was a triumph of the human spirit against overwhelming odds as the survivors over came their fear of threats to their lives while talking to us. The study would, in our opinion, pave the way for a more humane and compassionate system designed to care for them.
Researching trauma in trafficked survivors in remote India.
The study can further lead the Judiciary to a deeper understanding of the psyche of the perpetrators and the whole offence from a behavioral standpoint of the survivor. This can further result in affecting the conviction rate of the traffickers in India to combat human trafficking.
In the coming years we plan to develop this research and documentation as a concerted campaign against human trafficking by developing evidence based strategies to be used by the criminal justice system.