Mar 16, 2018

A snapshot from 2017

Our local partner Freedom Firm is working throughout Maharashtra tirelessly. We collated the results from 2017 and are happy to let you know that your support enabled 168 successful rescue operations to be carried out with local authorities, leading to the freedom of 168 girls!

There was also a legal victory, which saw the conviction of a trafficker. In addition to this, the legal team supported several girls and parents to testify against the traffickers and brothel owners. The legal team trained law enforcement officials on anti-trafficking laws and protocols as well.

The outcome of the constant attempts to rescue girls has resulted in brothel keepers being vary of customers as they are increasingly aware of the work of NGOs and law enforcement agencies. This often puts the investigators in dangerous situations but despite these difficulties the team were able to effectively find and rescue girls.

In particular we’d like to share with you the story of Kari.

Kari is from Rajasthan. Her family is involved in her prostitution. She was 16 years old when she was rescued by Freedom Firm investigators and police in Nagpur in late 2016. After her rescue, she revealed that she had a one-year-old son who might be living with her relatives in Rajasthan. The legal team received information from the police that someone had applied for her custody in the court. Even the probation officer of the government shelter where Kari is staying, assured that Kari was sold and it wasn’t safe for her to return to her family. And this custody case would put her back in danger.

Freedom Firm social workers are now requesting the police to investigate the whereabouts of Kari’s son to prevent her traffickers from blackmailing her and obtaining her custody. The team is very happy about the support provided by local authorities to ensure Kari stays safe.

 

Thank you for your continued support in this fight against sexual exploitation of girls and in this project!

Nov 27, 2017

Supporting girls to regain independence

Imagine what the girls have been through when they arrive in this halfway home shelter.

So far this year 38 girls have been rescued from the horrors of human trafficking and have been supported and rehabilitated through this project. Many of them were trafficked across the border to India and then had to be repatriated back to Nepal. 

Most girls are heavily traumatised, suffer from sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS, and are far from stable and independent. It is critical that they receive a range of support at the halfway home and go through a number of steps before they can return to their families and to normal life.

First, they receive medical support and psychosocial counselling; this is critical to help them deal with their trauma. They also participate in a legal orientation, where the staff teach them about the laws and their rights around child abuse, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation. Then the girls decide whether they want to file a case of human trafficking in the court and so far this year, 6 cases have been filed.

While the girls reside in the halfway home they all receive some form of education; one third of the girls receive formal education. When they return after school, the halfway home teacher provides them with after-school tuition and supports them with their homework.The other girls who don’t attend formal schooling participate in non-formal education at the shelter. Non-formal education is provided by the halfway home teacher to those beneficiaries who are illiterate. It is a bridge course to teach the girls basic literacy and numeracy (i.e. as elementary as the alphabet and numbers) before they start school. It is also given to those who join the shelter home in the middle of the year and are unable to go to formal school. Some girls have also started undertaking vocational training courses, including in jewellery-making or hospitality, through the national Council of Technical Education and Vocational Training or registered private agencies. The halfway home also does job placement for the girls, so that they can have decent work if they are not enrolled in formal education or vocational training.

As this is a halfway home shelter, it is not a short-term, immediate needs shelter or a long-term home. Hence, the aim is to support girls in the medium term to develop their physical, mental and social wellbeing, as well as get on a path towards independence. This includes equipping them with skills and/or jobs, so that they can then gradually return home with their families or reintegrate in urban areas to find decent work.

An in-depth risk assessment is always done by the staff before the girls return to their families. This is one of the most essential tasks before the girls can go home. It maps and traces out any possible risks of the girls being re-trafficked. This is because girls are often trafficked by family or extended family members, neighbours and other community members or traffickers in their local village who lure girls into false promises of a high-paid job in the city. If there are no risks found in their community, the girls return home and the staff follow up with them once a month to check their situation and if they are resettling well. If any risks are found during the risk assessment, the girls are referred to another organisation for long-term shelter and support, as going home may be dangerous for them. Sadly this can often be the case, which is why it is so necessary that the girls receive education, vocational training, job placement and other skills at the halfway home, which enables them to lead an independent life where they can make strategic life choices.

Oct 16, 2017

47 girls rescued!

Free a Girl aims to fight child prostitution in India amongst other countries. Our local partner Freedom Firm is working throughout Maharashtra tirelessly. In the last 6 months, your support has enabled 5 successful raids to be conducted, particularly in Nagpur, where 47 girls were rescued as well as a mass raid in which 92 women and 3 girls were rescued. The mass raid was done in collaboration with the local police, who actually approached the team for assistance in carrying out the raid. Police initiating and getting involved in interventions creates a deterrent against child prostitution and is a very positive outcome. In addition, legal aid has also been provided to these rescued girls where staff supported them in 34 court hearings in the first six months of the year. These girls have also been supported with  vocational training, counselling sessions and life skills classes in a government home. We thank you for your help in this fight!

 
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