Over 90% of children reported overall KAP scores that indicate they face moderate to high levels of risk to trafficking.

How Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices Shape Vulnerability to Child Sex Trafficking in India

  • Commercial Sexual Exploitation
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    West Bengal is a central transit hub for large numbers of vulnerable women and children.

    According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) of India, the state of West Bengal witnesses one of the highest levels of child trafficking. Traffickers systematically victimize socioeconomically fragile communities for commercial sexual and labor exploitation. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the region is also facing an increase in cyber trafficking, as traffickers shift their tactics into more hidden means of coercion.

    In India, awareness campaigns targeting vulnerable communities have long been employed by government and civil society actors to address vulnerabilities to trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Despite the widespread use of information campaigns, there is minimal evidence on the effectiveness of behavioral change campaign (BCC) approaches to make communities more resilient [1] [2]. Seefar—an international NGO with proven anti-trafficking expertise in complex environments—and My Choices Foundation (MCF), a locally-based Indian NGO with a broad grassroots network and pre-existing trafficking prevention model, are testing BCC campaigns and source community-strengthening activities in rural West Bengal. They aim to reach the most vulnerable individuals and communities and empower them to recognize, prevent, and respond to risks of trafficking and exploitation. 

    This collaboration strengthens traditional prevention programming approaches by integrating analytically rigorous methods for targeting, content design, and assessment. In February 2021, Seefar completed a rigorous household-level baseline study to further inform delivery and content strategies for their BCC programming, and ensure the evaluability of program outcomes. The study found high levels of risk among children and low levels of understanding risk by parents.

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    [1] Tjaden, J., S. Morgenstern and F. Laczko (2018), “Evaluating the impact of information campaigns in the field of migration: A systematic review of the evidence and practical guidance”, Central Mediterranean Route Thematic Report Series. International Organization for Migration, Geneva.

    [2] Pocock NS, Kiss L, Dash M, Mak J, Zimmerman C (2020) Challenges to pre-migration interventions to prevent human trafficking: Results from a before-and-after learning assessment of training for prospective female migrants in Odisha, India. PLoS ONE 15(9): e0238778. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0238778

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