CIVIC REHABILITATION

In spite of being healed psychologically and emotionally and despite being economically independent, the battle of a survivor of sex trafficking is not won unless she has a social identity. Another crucially important step in the process of rehabilitation is thus civic empowerment, which implicates retrieval of her social identity and a societal form of acceptance through the form of electoral cards, ration cards, subsidized housing, etc. The domain of civic identity is principally a government directive. Some states in India have special schemes and benefits from the government for the welfare of sex trafficked victims. Efforts are continuously made to create channels for the victim to get access to civic benefits which are rightfully hers, which involve submitting applications for the allocation of a wide range of benefits.

Prajwala helps provide victims of trafficking with electoral photo identity cards, if they are registered voters of the relevant constituency. Similarly, victims are provided food ration cards as a separate eligible category as a special case adopting existing income criteria. This card entitles victims to subsidized food such as rice, pulses, milk and other staple dietary items from government shops. Health cards are given to women and children ensuring free medical treatment, adequate drugs and medication in all Government hospitals. In order to facilitate reintegration, rescued victims are also provided allocation of house sites to on a priority basis. Prajwala is also trying to get minor victims’ legal status on par with multiple gang-rapes to receive 2 lakh rupees remuneration, after conviction of traffickers. This is a milestone for the organization as it is ensuring that victims get compensated for the ordeal they have suffered through.

Over the years, 515 survivors have been given housing under the weaker section’s housing scheme, and 35 victims received government welfare benefits in the form of immediate relief funds.