(Research, Advocacy and Capacity building against Exploitation- Lab)
I. Introduction and Rationale

Human trafficking, also known as modern-day slavery, is a gross violation of human rights. As per the United Nations, it is one of the three prime money-spinning organised crimes, the other two being trafficking in drugs and weapons. Human trafficking has become a worldwide criminal industry, incorporating millions of people annually, and generating an annual turnover of billions of dollars.

According to Article 23 of the Indian Constitution, trafficking in any form is prohibited. More than 40 million people (ILO 2017) are enslaved for exploitation, and the spectrum of purposes of exploitation ranges from sex slaves, forced labour including child soldiers, adoption, and being trafficked for medical purposes like organ harvesting, surrogacy trafficking or medical research.

ILO report says, for every 1000 adults, 5.4 were victims, and for every 1000 children, 4.4 children were victims. As per the 2020 NCRB report (National Crime Record Bureau), in India in 2020, there were 1714 cases of trafficking reported and 4709 persons were victimised out of which 1377 were boys and 845 girls. Among adult victims 535 were males and 1952 were females. So, out of 1.4 billion population only 4709 are victimised. This data is totally in contrast with the estimation of ILO. This anomaly has to be understood.

UNODC 2020 Global Report and ILO reports estimates that around 70% of victims are females (adult and child included). UNODC global report though observes that the “‘Invisibility’ of some sectors helps to hide trafficking…” Conventionally, as per UN Palermo protocol and definition given under Section 370 of IPC primarily three dimensions of human trafficking are considered, which are exploitation for sex, forced labour and organ transplant. Rest it generalises by mentioning terms like slavery and servitude.

RACE LAB (Research, Advocacy and Capacity building against Exploitation Lab) is established as India’s first anti-human trafficking lab. There will be three verticals in the lab, These verticals are, Research, Advocacy and Capacity building of stakeholders.Programmes would be run in the lab under each vertical. It’s mandate is to end/combatHuman Trafficking, and be the country’s leading think tank.This RACE Lab will endorse United Nations Sustainable Development goals (SDGs) to end Human Trafficking, address issues of vulnerability and plan rehabilitation of victims, mainly by focusing on the goals set under SDG’s 4, 5, 8, 10 and 16.

II. Broad Objectives of the RACE lab

a. To be the first lab in the country on Anti-human trafficking. It would be a centre for researchers, and provide space to experts, practitioners and academicians on the subject.

b. An arduous multidisciplinary and multistakeholder focused research to understand the ecosystem of human trafficking, with objective to provide a proof-of-concept for developing strategies and strengthen effort of all in combating trafficking.

c. To produce actionable policy and documents, legislative suggestions and in India and across the world including the UN (to bring the voices of people at margins). 

d. To build the capacity of various essential stakeholders, government and non-government (national and international) on strengthening their response to issue of HT.

III. The Proposed mandate of each vertical -

a) Research-
Dedicate to developing innovative approaches to combat human trafficking and related issues, pioneer a new generation of knowledge and solutions driven by actionable research and policy advocacy. It would help understand human trafficking through intersectional analysis and beyond the lens of gender-based violence while locating anti-trafficking work as part of a globalised movement.

Research would focus on three main areas-

  • Intervention based research. To understand the successful models and gaps in the interventionist efforts of CSOs.
  • Empirical action-oriented research on various aspects of human trafficking.Through research and study on various aspects of human trafficking understand the domestic and global situation, with reference to cause and effect, dimensions beyond the conventional definition, the vulnerability and attempts to ameliorate it,the methods used by traffickers to sustain captivity and role of stakeholders in prevention, protection and prosecution, and other issues including mental health,data analysis.
  • Research on extant legal framework and policies in India and across the globe. To make Lab a resource centre and data bank on existing actions. Researchers would study the gaps existing between policy and practice.

  • b) Advocacy
    Lab would play a leading role in advocacy to bring in possible changes in legislation,policies and action in the field. Through advocacy coordinate with institutions working on the subject, locally and globally, and learn and share the progress being made. This would help expand the anti-human trafficking community, and lead to a concerted effort to end human trafficking.

    The main focus on advocacy would be in two areas.

  • To State actors on their legislations, policies and schemes. It would provide needful inputs for policies and legislations through consultative processes.
  • To provide evidence base analytical data and narratives to inspire and help the civil society, government and non-government players, and the corporate and business houses to fine-tune their anti-human trafficking efforts for enhanced effectiveness and impact.
  • To strengthen the systemic response to issue of Human Trafficking help prepare guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) various Stakeholders.

  • c) Capacity Building
    Engagement with and capacity building of stakeholders to create effective eco-system to end human trafficking. To amplify the voices of those who have suffered and survived extreme and oppressive abuses. The endeavour of the lab will be to work towards a violence-free world, ending contemporary forms of slavery and human trafficking, by creating an ecosystem for the appropriate intersection between human rights and, national and international laws and policies.
    There would be three main areas covered under capacity building.

  • Conceptual literacy- through awareness spread basic knowledge about human trafficking among the masses.
  • Conceptual clarity- to educate and provide in-depth knowledge about human trafficking to the essential stakeholders who have important role to play in combating trafficking.
  • Skill set development- Prepare and equip the essential stakeholders to combat trafficking.

  • IV. Collaborators and Partners in the above work plan

    Following organisations/institutions/individuals have agreed principally to partner/collaborate with RACE Lab-
    Government- NCW (National Commission for Women), NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights), Chhattisgarh Police, and MP Police.
    Institutions/Universities- Gujarat University, Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS), Delhi University, Sanrachna Foundation, SGT University (Gurugram), IIM Indore.
    Individuals- Four DGP rank officers from 3 different states (Gujarat, Punjab, Chattisgarh, MP,UP) have agreed to provide pro-bono support through their valuable inputs to the LAB.
    Similarly, experts from the field of remote sensing (GIS), Forensics, Mental Health experts,Psychologists, and social work experts have expressed their willingness to collaborate.
    International- Some organizations working internationally have also expressed their interest to collaborate as knowledge partners.

    V. Location-
    RACE LAB is established in Samvedna, a Bhopal-based non-profit organisation, which is steadily engaged with the issue of exploitation and Human Trafficking for the last 15 years, specifically in the Bedia community of rural Madhya Pradesh. The organisation is currently
    working in 60 villages in six districts i.e. Bhopal, Rajgarh, Guna, Raisen, Vidisha and Sagar.This organisation is one of a kind in the country with the knowledge, technical know-how and patterns of trafficking in the Bedia community. The organisation works on the prevention of
    human trafficking and rehabilitation of women, adolescents and children’s survivors. For prevention, the organisation uses education and life skills as means of transformation whereas rehabilitation works with adult men and women for skill building and promotion of alternative
    forms of livelihood.
    A branch offices will be opened in other parts of the country, whenever required, as for advocacy it is pertinent to be located in different regions.