Raid, rescue, and rehabilitation: An exploratory study of effective anti-trafficking interventions for the survivors of sex trafficking of brothel-based prostitution


  • Sonal Pandey Sharda University Greater Noida


The Constitution of India criminalizes the trafficking of children for the sex trade and has established extensive provisions for their rescue and rehabilitation. India is the first country to provide for the obligatory rescue of the children trafficked into the brothels and provide for their rehabilitation, and reintegration into their homes and communities. This exploratory study presents an overview of the rescue mechanism and post-trafficking service provisions for the child survivors of sex trafficking in India using qualitative design. Using in-depth interviews and focus group discussions, 30 survivors of the sex trafficking from the government shelter home and selected NGOs in Delhi were interviewed for the purpose of data collection. The part of the data was also collected using the anthropological tenet of the “key informants.” The key informants for this study were the in-charges/ superintendent of the shelter homes, welfare officers, police, legal experts, and other personnel from NGOs from Delhi and West Bengal. The sampling was purposive and convenient. The data were thematically analyzed using the interpretive paradigm. The results reveal that the age-old method of raid and rescue have not been found to be effective in the removal of the survivors from the trafficking context for their intended rehabilitation and reintegration. It is found that rehabilitation assistance is a recent development in India and hence, the provisions for the survivors at the shelter home were limited and incomplete which in turn jeopardized their health and well-being post trafficking. Besides, the rehabilitation framework severely undermined the rights' perspective. The findings of the study further revealed that the current praxis of rescue and rehabilitation is dubious and fails to take into account the impact of brothel experiences on the process of rescue and rehabilitation of the survivors. This research has significant implications for designing rescue and rehabilitation provisions for child survivors of trafficking. The article concludes with several significant recommendations specifically the paternalistic framework guiding the rehabilitation and reintegration exercise must give way to a "participatory approach" where the survivors are adequately involved in their rehabilitation to increase the effectiveness of the interception of the survivors and rehabilitation before the intended home reintegration.






Special Issue: "Child Maltreatment, Child Protection and Child Well-being"