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Bride trafficking has emerged as a veritable menace in the eastern states of India. Poor women from states like Assam, Orissa, Bihar etc. are trafficked into Haryana and Punjab by enticing them with dreams of a better future. Once trafficked, they are sold off as brides to anyone who is willing to pay, after which they are mostly subjugated to a life of slavery with basically no rights and are often abused, both mentally and physically. They are also often sold forward to other men repeatedly. Even after they are rescued, these women usually have nowhere to go as their families do not accept them due to prevalent stigma and they remain ostracised by the community at large. With the COVID-19 crisis, innumerable survivors were abandoned by their “buyer families”, and even from shelter homes and brothels, leading to an unprecedented scale of reverse migration towards Assam, a major source area for trafficking. Many women walked more than a thousand miles back “home” but they remain unwelcome because of the stigma and have no room for settling in or being accepted into the social fabric; leaving them prone to be re-trafficked or appropriated by the trafficking ring to become agents for trafficking of other vulnerable young girls in those areas.

There is a dire need for creating a conducive environment for these returnees, addressing their rehabilitation needs and implementing preventive measures for women and girls who are especially vulnerable to trafficking in the area; which would include provision of education and skills for employment and financial independence.

The target area of the project falls under the Char regions of Dhubri in Assam. These are regions of the river Brahmaputra that undergo repeated flooding and erosion which forces the dwellers to migrate every year thus never allowing them to settle indefinitely. They also lack access to proper education and amenities which has resulted in them being acutely marginalised and interminably vulnerable. This has led to high rates of trafficking in these areas. Hence there is a need for effective intervention in these areas.

Empower People is implementing Project EASE in response to this dire situation, from 1st October, 2021 which will encompass the following activities:

Education: The project shall engage at-risk members from the community who are especially vulnerable to trafficking and involve them in community participation and vocational training activities. The project shall also work towards re-enrolment of out-of-school girls into government schools, along with supplementary coaching for Class-10 girls.

Assistance: The project aims to curb re-trafficking of returnees by empowering them economically and shall also attempt to rehabilitate and reintegrate them into the community. The project shall also provide legal and material assistance to returnees.

Social Empowerment: Through the “survivors’ collective” of returnees, the project shall try to instil in the survivors a sense of solidarity and in the process, aid in their social acclimatisation with other members of the community, along with offering legal and psychological counselling on an individual and need basis.

Employment: The project aims to provide vocational training to survivors and other vulnerable members of the community so they can develop financial independence, entrepreneurial spirit, and preferably set up their own businesses.

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This project will be implemented simultaneously in 3 blocks of Dhubri Assam.  

(i) in 1 year: Assistance to survivors, re-enrolment of survivors as well as vulnerable individuals into government schools, providing supplementary coaching to 10th standard girls appearing for board exams, and formation of CBO for LED bulb-making training.  

(ii)  in 2 years: Formation of Mother’s Club, Girls’ Club, feminist perspective building for stakeholders and community leaders at local level, and continuation of previous activities.

(iii) in 3 years: Knowledge and skill building for CBO leaders on basic management, negotiation, conflict resolution, networking and advocacy skills. Training of capable youths in community journalism. Training of selected CBO members (BT survivors) in LED Bulb assembling and repairing along with home-based solar power generation system assembling and repairing.  

Targeted Outreach - Direct beneficiaries - Indirect beneficiaries

1st Year - 2000 -10000

2nd Year - 1500 - 10000

3rd year -1500 - 10000

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The Project is partially funded by LOreal fund for women. 

For more details kindly write to us