Trauma-informed care is crucial to the empowerment of survivors. It ensures survivors are not re-traumatized during legal proceedings or while receiving recovery services; provides self-ownership over their own recovery; and helps them to lead safe and empowered futures. Yet, it is frequently not implemented by governments, law enforcement, judiciary, or care providers, who are frequently survivors’ first point of contact in the recovery process. GFEMS prioritizes trauma-informed care curriculum development and implementation to ensure that survivors have the tools and care they need for long term recovery and success.
In Maharashtra, India, GFEMS has partnered with International Justice Mission (IJM) to strengthen trauma-informed care in the state’s child welfare system. Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) are quasi-judicial bodies that support children in need of care and protection, including trafficking victims. IJM has trained all CWC members in Maharashtra on safe placement and case management, ensuring that stakeholders directly responsible for survivor rehabilitative care are equipped to make the best decisions in the interest of the child and operate as efficiently and responsibly as possible. To further build on this training, IJM has instituted a state-wide mentorship program with care experts, who have provided CWC members with guidance on over 260 cases. Facilitating regular case management roundtables, the project includes collaborative problem solving and case discussions for CWC members, ensuring that survivors receive comprehensive rehabilitation and support. The project has also made a series of infrastructure upgrades to selected CWCs, developing models for child-friendly spaces in the state.
By building the capacity of state institutions, including the CWCs, to deliver effective survivor care, the program is a blueprint for the provision of trauma-informed restoration that is replicable across other states in India and beyond. These types of care practices are needed globally to eliminate modern slavery and human trafficking for good.
This article and the project it references were funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of State.