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About Organization

April 01, 2012 EP Admin 0 Comments

EMPOWER PEOPLE is a Delhi based umbrella organisation singularly focusing on work with victims and potential victims of human trafficking (bride trafficking to be precise) and honour crimes against women. The organisation (thanks to its nature and character of work) is gradually taking the form and shape of a social movement, with a few community based organisations in seven states of India, activist individuals and groups primarily in Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand,Punjab,Rajasthan, West Bangal and some linkages in Himachal Pradesh. EMPOWER PEOPLE has a membership base of atleast 10,000 persons belonging to the above states which form a loose informal network. Majority of the active members are from Bihar in Gaya, Augangabad and Nawada. In Jharkhand, it has bases in Chatra and Hazaribagh Districts. In Assam it has initiatives in Jorhat, Karimganj, Barpetta [from where a vehicle march against human trafficking was launched from (Barpetta to Delhi) in first week of March 2012]. This membership base was possible because of the project proponent’s work in Gaya and neighboring Districts – first through an educational initiative called Career Development Group (CDG) which started in 1999 and later through EMPOWER PEOPLE since 2006.

In Haryana, EMPOWER PEOPLE was working in three Districts namely Jind, Kurukshetra and Mewat. Now, it is working only in Mewat District because of financial constraints. In Punjab, it works in Rajpura Tehsil of Patiala District under CBO named Sajre Phool. This initiative is led by Dr. Ms. Sadhana Agarwal a practicing doctor involved in Govt’s RCH programme and also contributing to anti-human trafficking work.

EMPOWER PEOPLE is a registered Society since 2006 with 80 G and 12 A certificates. FCRA registration has not been initiated because the Ministry mandates prospective NGOs to have a transaction turnover of atleast Rs ten lakhs. But plans are afoot to do so.

EMPOWER PEOPLE started in 2006 with a singular focus on rescue and repatriation of victims of human trafficking. Atleast 400 women have been rescued since 2006, out of which, atleast 40 were “rehabilitated”. Although this is no small feat in itself, it is just the tip of a huge iceberg of a problem that can be likened to a marriage black market involving scores of middlemen and hundreds of girls and women trafficked, sold and resold over and over on the pretext of marriage. Mewat region in Haryana is a transit as well as destination point for the trafficked girls and women. The Mewat initiative (CBO) named “Wama-Vahini” is led by Ms. Gaushia Khan, who is now President of EMPOWER PEOPLE. She was a victim of trafficking herself and is today a key leader in this campaign against anti-human trafficking.

“Rehabilitation” of the rescued girls and victims remains a major challenge because several attempts with a couple of organisations working on human trafficking, to accommodate and rehabilitate them were not forthcoming. The only “rehabilitation” worth its name has been towards getting some rescued victims married off to locals after thorough assessment and counseling. Ironical as this may sound and certainly not a desirable option, this was the best possible option under the given circumstances, and with the hope this would atleast ensure the rescued girls and women do not get resold; thereby breaking the vicious cycle and maze of the trafficking web these girls and women are trapped in. Efforts are ongoing towards proper rehabilitation but this option would be explored only if reunion with family back home is not in the best implied or expressed interest of the rescued. The organisation is designing a rehabilitation plan.

It is plain and simple, trafficking here is for sex and slavery. These women and girls are made to work and slog in the fields and double up as brides.  Integral to its work and part of the mission of EMPOWER PEOPLE is to protect trafficked women victims from the cycle of violence and mitigating post-violence trauma.  It is a grass roots organization led and sustained by youth activism. The focus of the organization is to work on human trafficking, particularly bride trafficking and associated slavery. And wherever possible, it tries to provide shelter, counseling and legal support to victims of trafficking.