Intervention process includes the set of actions and steps adopted by EP in cases related to Bride Trafficking. Other than the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) laid down by the government which needs to be followed in cases pertaining to trafficking, the steps defined by EP have gradually evolved over a period of time based on the needs of victims and the experience gained while working with them. Empower People sees these processes as drivers of change which are evolved from the survivor’s perspective.
“Empower People believes in handling every case uniquely and in its entirety. For us, each case is a journey of empowerment.”
Social Intervention Process
Social Intervention process is undertaken when the case is socially entangled and where there is less or no scope for legal intervention. This process arises out of admission of a fact that in many circumstances, a rescue and legal intervention isn’t the best possible solution. The social intervention process attempts to link and assimilate the survivor with her present society. In these kinds of cases, an endeavor is made to bring the society closer to the survivor especially because of the socio-cultural differences between them. The organization’s aim is to pacify the distraught social relationships in order to develop a positive environment where the survivor can thrive without fear of society.
For any and every organization, a credible information source is the terminus a quo for working in the area of Trafficking.
Legal Intervention Process
This refers to cases that fall under the purview of the legal definition of trafficking as provided under the Indian Law. The Standard Operating Procedure of the Police and concerned department is applied in such cases, where the organization provides assistance to the survivor throughout the process in any required manner. The organization ensures that all steps which are in the best interest of the survivor are carried out by the administration. Here, it should be noted that the organization primarily works for the survivor’s empowerment and not for the criminal’s punishment, the latter being the duty of law enforcement agencies. However, this doesn’t limit the organization from extending legal aid to the survivor.
Once the information is verified, the case is further investigated through a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). The SOP primarily includes a step by step approach enabling the different departments and supervisors to effectively carry out the process. The organization provides voluntary assistance during the whole process.
Before the rescue, a pre-rescue meeting is organized where all the concerned local departments come together (including police and health departments, civil society, etc.) to discuss about all the dimensions of the rescue and the resources (transport, money, legal support) required for the same. A contingency plan is also envisaged during the meeting. Once the meeting is done, the rescue is carried out immediately. All the concerned local authorities and NGOs are alerted about the rescue maintaining confidentiality of the details.
Post rescue, the focus is on necessary treatment for the survivor. Voluntarily we ensure that the survivor feels safe and all her immediate needs are fulfilled (like food, shelter, clothes, and medical assistance). The Investigating Officer (IO) is the officer entrusted with the responsibility to keep the survivor safe. He also sends proposals to concerned authorities to provide an interim relief and avail benefits wherever applicable. Once the primary needs of the survivor are met, an FIR is filed in case it wasn’t filed before undertaking the rescue. The filing of an FIR is a crucial step in the entire process and it forms the basis for the whole case. The FIR is ensured to be self-contained and cross-verified. The statements of the victim and the witness are recorded by the IO at this step.
Further investigation is carried out aimed at collecting evidence to support the version of victim/survivor. The suspects/accused are interrogated keeping in mind all aspects of the trafficking process. The procedures of arrest and filing of charge sheet are undertaken in due course of time as per the demands of the case. Certain post-conviction steps may be taken up by the IO and are appealed to the court. It may include enhancement of punishment, fines, suspension, etc.
Referral mechanisms play an important role during the whole process. It includes involvement of different stakeholders who are responsible to coordinate creation of an effective system consisting of counseling, health care, psycho-social intervention, legal representation, compensation and rehabilitation.