Shafiq R Khan


Rescue and Rehabilitation

Rescue and Rehabilitation – An Overview

India signed the Geneva convention on immoral trafficking of women and children in 1956 after which the Suppression of immoral trafficking Act (SITA) was enacted. Police raids focused on the removal of women in prostitution from the brothels. In some cases these women were arrested for soliciting in public places and fined for this offence. In addition to these efforts by the police, individuals, voluntary organization such as Savdhan worked on the rescue and rehabilitation of women in prostitution.[1]

During the nineties, a new wave of raids was initiated in Mumbai with the assistance of the police. The Bombay High Court called for an increase in raids on brothels in 1996 following reports in newspapers on the high incidence of HIV infections amongst women in prostitution in the hope that this would help curb the spread of the HIV virus.[2]

Unfortunately, the unplanned manner in which these raids carried out led to the creation of a number of problems in the rehabilitation of the rescued children. The rescued girls were hostile and complained of the treatment meted out to them they wanted to be released from the institutions that they were placed in.[3]

At the same time, the staff at the receiving institutions received no prior warning of the raids and were unprepared and therefore quickly overwhelmed by the number of rescued girls that arrived in the aftermath of the raids.

Subsequent to this, raids were conducted in July 1997 after having ensured that the children rescued previously had been repatriated. Mass raids were carried out until the end of April 1999 by which “the flow of clients to the red light areas had shrunk to a trickle and prostitutes had begun to flee the area.”[4]

Whilst these Police raids have been well documented, there is little information on other forms of rescue. Moreover, though practitioners in this field are aware that mass raids have been carried out in other metropolitan cities like Delhi and Pune, there is little documentation on these events. It is hoped that interacting with NGOs and individuals who work on rescuing children affected by trafficking and CSE will provide more data in this respect.

Whilst were are a number of Government and NGO initiatives for the rehabilitation of children affected by trafficking and CSE, there is little information available on the success of these rehabilitation strategies. Government-sponsored income-generating schemes include NORAD, STEP, CCEVT, SEP, and DWCRA.[5]

The SWADHAR schemes, as amended in 2002, “….purports to address the specific vulnerability of each group of women in difficult circumstances through a Home-based holistic and integrated approach.”[6]

NGOs working for the welfare of children affected by trafficking and CSE include Bharatiya Patita Uddhar Sangh (Delhi), Joint Women’s Programme (Delhi) Prerna (Mumbai), Sanlaap (west Bengal), Satya shodan Ashram (Madhya Pradesh), Devdasi Vimochana Punarvasti Sangh (Belgaum) and Gram Niyojon Kendra (u Uttar Pradesh); Smacker (Andhra Pradesh), India Council for child welfare (Tamil Nadu ), Praya ,Snehalaya , Van chit Vikas and khedi Vikas mandal in Maharashra.Bitterflies (Delhi) and Odanadi (Karnataka).45 However , the strategies used by these and other such NOG’s for the rehabilitation of rescued children have not been documented. It is hope d that the research team’s interaction with NGOs such as the above would provide information on the range of strategies that could be used to best rehabilitate a rescued child.

[1] Stackhouse, 1996

[2] Dey. 1996.

[3] Fernandes and Ray, 2001

[4] Ibid.Pg.53.

[5] DWCD, 1998.


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