Since its inception in 1980, BBA has been at the forefront in the fight against slavery, forced labour and bonded labour through direct actions leading to the rescue of over 82,800 children and the withdrawal of over 200,000 bonded and child laborers (rescue vs withdrawal).
BBA has led the demand for policy changes and for the enforcement of various anti-trafficking legislations in India. Trafficking was first defined by the Supreme Court of India in a case filed by BBA on 18th April 2011, following which the government of India ratified the Palermo Protocol on 10th May 2011. BBA’s specific submissions before the Justice Verma Committee were accepted in toto and are reflected in Sections 370 and 370 A of the Indian Penal Code. They were also incorporated into the Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance 2013.
The request made by BBA was also accepted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs and the anti-trafficking laws, with stringent punishment under sections 370 and 370A, were retained by the Parliament of India with minor modifications.
BBA has also assisted the Government of India in formulating the Standard Operating Procedure for Investigating the Crime of Trafficking for Forced Labour. The Ministry of Home Affair used BBA’s Raid and Rescue Policies for this purpose.
Victims Assistance is vital to ensure the protection of children who have been victims of trafficking for bonded or forced labour and to ensure the restitution of their rights. BBA engages a number of strategies ranging from the identification of trafficked victims to their rescue, the provision of immediate care and assistance, the prosecution of their employers, statutory rehabilitation and other legal aids.
BBA’s pioneer intervention model provides protection to victims of trafficking for bonded or forced labour and slavery, by rescuing them from exploitation and enabling their access to services under the rule of law.
The process of victim’s assistance starts with the identification of cases or the receipt of complains and includes the detailed preparation of conducting raid and rescue operations, the prosecution of traffickers/ employers and the rehabilitation of survivors.
There are stringent penalties for employers of children under Indian legislation. BBA files complaints in the name of victims in order to achieve the prosecution of their employers. This includes fines, the recovery of back-wages and in some cases imprisonment.
BBA works to ensure access to rehabilitation services including statutory benefits. For this purpose, BBA also operates its own rehabilitation centers.
BBA had filed the first complaint for the missing children of Nithari in 2006 under the assumption that the children were victims of trafficking. BBA pioneered the first consulted effort in the country on the issue of missing children and its linkages with trafficking. The research established that every six minutes a child goes missing in India and over a 100,000 children go missing in the country each year. The research paved the way for a petition before the Supreme Court of India resulting in a landmark direction on the issue of missing children. Read more
BBA actively ensures that children are protected and are not vulnerable to being re-trafficked. Rehabilitation measures include eminent support given, like trauma counseling and the care and protection provided in children’s homes and transit rehabilitation centers. At the same time, BBA also ensures compensation and access to government services, including housing and other development schemes.
The combination of illiteracy and poverty is often a determining factor for a child being drawn into child labour or child trafficking. BBA tries to mitigate these factors by ensuring that former child labourers get economic compensation from the employer, trafficker and the state. This compensation is received in the form of backwages as layed down in the 22nd May 2012 judgement, a fine on the employer, guaranteed under the 15th July 2009 judgement and compensation as provided by a rehabilitation package under bonded labour law. There are also centrally sponsored schemes allowing for the rehabilitation of bonded labourers.
Immediately after rescue, a child is taken to a children’s home wherever possible. For Delhi and surrounding areas Mukti Ashram, established on the outskirts of Delhi, is a safe haven.
Founded in 1991, Mukti Ashram was the first center in India for rescued bonded labourers. Since 2007, Mukti Ashram has emerged as a model for providing immediate support and access to services for children rescued from child labour and trafficking. In the short-term home, children receive food, clothing, shelter, medical aid, psychological and legal assistance, recreation and everyday care. BBA ensures that the children get best quality care to overcome the trauma of slavery and servitude.
While at Mukti Ashram, the children receive non-formal education, trauma counseling and rights based empowerment, which eases the process of their reintegration into the society. To ensure that parents do not fall prey to the enticement or the deception of economic gains through child labour, they are also made aware and encouraged to pledge against all forms of child labour and are explained the virtue of education. Read more
Located in Rajasthan and established in 1998, Bal Ashram serves as a long term rehabilitation and training center of Bachpan Bachao Andolan that specialises on the needs of victims of child labour. Nestled amongst the picturesque Aravalli Hills, Bal Ashram’s main focus lies in providing quality education, vocational training and skill development as well as showing compassion and giving love to the children. Bal Ashram is a place where the children can lead a normal, happy and dignified life. Read more