Meghalaya Model -combating human trafficking through a comprehensive framework that engages stakeholders

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Meghalaya Model -combating human trafficking through a comprehensive framework that engages stakeholders

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Even though slavery was abolished over a hundred years ago human trafficking remains a vast global problem. Despite international agreements and a plethora of national laws on the issue it remains one of the fastest growing criminal trades in the world. Due to its cross border nature human trafficking requires cooperation and collaboration between states, if it is to be tackled effectively. However, throughout the world often anti-trafficking initiatives have failed to incorporate all stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking. The Meghalaya model is a multi-sector approach involving government, law enforcement, judiciary and civil society organisations that creates a comprehensive framework for combating trafficking of girls under the five “Ps” Prevention, Protection, Policing, Press and Prosecution. This idea addresses under utilisation of resources by the different stakeholders by creating a a formal network of organisations situated in strategic locations to co-ordinate a response to human trafficking cases within the North East region. The model’s different initiatives aim to track and rescue trafficked children, facilitate rehabilitation, provide families with livelihood alternatives, prosecute offenders, and raise awareness on the issue. This holistic approach does not just see human trafficking as confined to a problem of law enforcement but understands that it is a result of wider socio-economic factors which have to be addressed.

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Impulse NGO Network
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Section 1: About You
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Impulse NGO Network

Section 2: About Your Organization
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Organization Name

Impulse NGO Network

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Organization Address

Ranee’s Abode Near Horse Shoe Building Lower Lachumiere Shillong – 793001, Meghalaya, India

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How long has this organization been operating?

More than 5 years

Your idea
What stage is your project in?

Operating for more than 5 years

When was the project initiated? or When are you planning to begin?

Impulse has been working on child trafficking since 1999. In 2005 after consultation in the eight states, of the North East, 11 formal state partnerships were formed with stakeholders in each of the states. Since this date under the Meghalaya model, which sets out a framework for dealing with trafficking cases, these partnerships have continued to grow and form a regional network to combat human trafficking. The initiative is an ongoing process which is constantly evaluated in order to improve, maintain and solidify partnerships for the most effective anti-trafficking strategy.

What kind of beneficiaries is your initiative addressed to?

Women, Girls, Youth.

Describe the profile of the beneficiaries of this project

The beneficiaries of this project are the girl and women who have been trafficked from or to the North East of India. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that there are 1 million girls trafficked to work in the Indian sex industry. Trafficked women and children not only face violation of their right to freedom but they endure various forms of torture such as cigarette burnings and insertion of chili into the vagina. For many traffickers, seeing women in pain provides them with a kind of satisfaction. This initiative not only places the institutional mechanism to remove them from such a situation but it provides psychological and emotional support for their rehabilitation. It also benefits their families by providing programmes aimed at addressing the root causes of trafficking. The initiatives long term goal is to create networks in other regions, serving more trafficked children.

What is your initiative’s implementation strategy?

The Meghalaya Model creates a framework for a comprehensive anti-trafficking strategy. One of the key elements of this framework was engaging stakeholders to work in collaboration in order to maximise the use of resources.
1) Forming partnerships with stakeholder
In order to foster relationships between different stakeholders in 2005 Impulse organised state consultations on a "Rights Based approach to Anti Trafficking" for all the eight North Eastern States of India. These consultations were designed to: foster partnerships; implement the strategy laid out in the Meghalaya model; reach a consensus on the facilitating role that Impulse NGO Network can play in facilitating regional networking between NGOs and Government Agencies and clarify the role of each stakeholder to ensure that no repetition of functions occurred. The consultations resulted in successfully creating a network of 11 state partners across all the North Eastern States.
2)Coordinating responses to trafficking
Once these partnerships were formed it was recognised that communication and information sharing are key to implementing the model; Impulse uses the internet to connect the different stakeholders. Email campaigns and web alerts are used to disseminate information to the partner organisations and post updated information and photos of missing children.
3) Maintaining and maximising partnerships
The next stage of implementation was to build on these partnerships to ensure they are functioning at optimum capacity. Thus, the next stage of implementation was a combination of law enforcement and government department training, awareness raising: in the community and with NGOs and Community Based Organisations, lobbying and capacity building.
4) Expanding the Meghalaya Model
The next stage of the strategy is to expand the model into other regions creating an even wider and more effective network.

In your opinion, what are the main barriers or obstacles in connection with this theme?

One of the main barriers to developing a robust network of stakeholders working on anti-trafficking is ensuring that those working within stakeholder institutions receive sufficient training. Impulse has developed training and a manual for law enforcement in the region but to ensure sustainability of this resources need to be efficiently allocated by government departments. However, budgets are often created without reserving sufficient funds for anti-trafficking initiatives.

Another obstacle is the size of the border; over 95% of the North East has an international border and with the Look East policy, which encourages closer economic integration with South-east Asia there is a huge risk of human trafficking in the region. The size of the border and the Look East policy means that the Meghalaya model needs to be scaled up so that partnerships are made in other countries.

What type of partnerships you have or intend to generate strategic alliances with for the development of this initiative? Choose all that apply

State departments or areas, International organizations, Non-Government organizations, Private companies, Social organizations, Universities, Schools.

Describe with whom you have generated these alliances and how

During the state consultations alliances were generated with numerous state departments in all the eight states including: the Department of Employment, the Department of Social Welfare, the Labour Department, the Education Department and the Health Department. Alliances were also made with the police department in each state, and the border security forces, the judiciary and short stay homes. These same consultations created partnerships with civil society organisations in the eight states; currently Impulse has 13 formal partnerships with organisations working on trafficking across the North East. Impulse has links with media partners in all the North Eastern states and has worked with different school and universities in the region delivering rights education.

What are the main results generated and/or expected to generate by means of this initiative?

The main results have been a coordinated response to children reported missing or suspected of being trafficked from state partners, law enforcement and government departments. As a result of the initiative their has been greater coordination between stakeholders enabling them to utilise their resources to their maximum potential by having a better dialogue with other departments. This has resulted in optimal functioning of services for the trafficked survivors. In the future it is expected that the network will organically evolve to self-sufficiency. This will allow Impulse to merely facilitate and monitor as the stakeholders internalise all the elements of the Megahalaya model, so that there are sufficiently skilled staff to maintain the initiative.

What is the main impact that your initiative might generate?

When the model is scaled up to other states it will create an even wider network working on anti-trafficking, allowing children to be more easily traced when they cross borders and ensuring more traffickers are brought to justice, ultimately reducing trafficking.

Ensure that a child is not delayed in repatriation- so ensure proper utilisation of resources - no need to recreate structure but use the resources better through co-ordination