LEGAL ADVOCACY

A primary concern for Prajwala is ensuring that adequate and strong legislations are developed to address the organized crime of trafficking and develop protection for victims. Through writ petitions and public interest litigations in various High Courts in India, victim friendly options such as video conferencing and rehabilitation options have been achieved. For the first time in the country, in the Supreme Court public interest litigation was filed for Victim Protection Act by Prajwala, which has made the Government of India look at the possibility of victim protection protocols at every stage from rescue to reintegration.

With the hopes that a trafficking-free society would soon come into being, Prajwala sought solidarity with other like-minded organizations to join the movement for attaining justice for all victims of sexual violence. After extensive lobbying with the Department of Women Development and Child Welfare, a new policy (GO MS 14) was brought out to ensure seats in polytechnic courses for child survivors of trafficking without an entrance test. Order stated that 70% of the seats in Women‘s Technical Training Institute shall be reserved for complete orphans, destitute including trafficked victims in the “Smt. Durgabai Deshmukh Women Technical Training Institute.” Prajwala later filed for inclusion of victim compensation on par with multiple victim of a severe form of crime like rape.

An enormous success for Prajwala was that a special court has been designated to deal with all anti-trafficking cases in Hyderabad on special request made by Prajwala to the Chief Justice. As a result of Prajwala‘s initiatives the cases are now being undertaken successfully with the new legal process, and for the first time in a mere span of 6 months, the cases are reaching the state of trail. Not only has the speed of trial increased, but in the past one year there have been 95 convictions.

In addition, Prajwala has conducted training for over 200 senior police and prosecutors from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka in order to equip them with the requisite understanding and skills to appropriately handle cases of human trafficking. The immediate result was that law enforcement officers recognized the broader context of inter-state trafficking as well as the reasons why victims often act hostile and aggressive upon being rescued or brought to police stations. Rather than judge and blame the victims for their behavior, the police now understand that the rescued women have gone through extremely oppressive sexual conditions to the degree of torture and it is thus necessary to handle their situation in a very sensitive manner that is conducive to their long-term recovery and rehabilitation.