We are thrilled to publish Operation Red Alert’s very first Impact Report. We have come a long way from November 2013, when we began our journey with a workshop investigating gaps in India’s anti-trafficking efforts. We have done 18 months of research on ground and program testing, 4 months of collateral building and more than a year of working with grassroots NGOs and managing India’s first trafficking helpline!
This Impact Report provides information of our field work, highlights of our work with the grassroots NGOs and helpline management, and critical insights on trafficking trends, field learnings, why we are in certain states in India and stories from the field. Very excitingly, it also provides a look into what’s coming in 2017, including India’s first national, mass-media awareness campaign on sex trafficking.
Here is a note from our founder
Many of us know the saying: “It takes a village to raise a child”. What our team carries in our heart and fully believe, is that it not only takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village to keep a child safe. Especially – a girl child!
In November 2013 our team embarked on a journey that has forever changed each of our lives. We committed to being a part of the greater “village” whose mission is to keep girls safe. Girls who are trafficked for sexual slavery live a life of extreme abuse and daily rape. Their average age when they are taken is 12 years old and some as young as 6 or 7 years. We cannot have this happen in our “village”, our world. Deciding how to keep our village safe, was a journey …
Only 1% of trafficked girls ever get rescued. Rescue and rehabilitation must happen, but it is able to do very little to end trafficking. At the start of our work, our team dedicated 18-months to exploration and learning. We traveled the width and breadth of India, met with as many of the NGOs that work in this field as we could, and in the process, probably had more cups of Chai than is healthy! Every expert NGO, government worker, and trafficking survivor we spoke to identified the same gap in anti-trafficking efforts – no one was working to systematically prevent trafficking, and there was no coalition organized to work towards the elimination of supply of girls.
Thus, we have positioned our efforts in the center of that “gap”. We are dedicated to the difficult and often invisible work of prevention. We feel we MUST EQUIP the at-risk villages where girls are coming from to keep the village and its girls safe. There is no other work for us but this.
Our Research paper
Close to 90% of girls are trafficked due to the ignorance of their parents, in particular the ignorance of their fathers. This reality is very unique to India. Critical to our initial research phase, we commissioned a research paper by a Mumbai-based Behavioral Architecture firm to try and understand HOW can we change the behavior of the Fathers and the families to NOT to let their girls go.
Make in India
I personally love the slogan “Make in India”, and as a team we truly believe that together we can “Make India Safe”. If those who can act, remain inactive, If those who should know better, remain indifferent, and if the voice of justice is silent when it should speak up, then evil will triumph. As a human race we may falter, we may fail, and we sometimes take too long to do what is obviously needed. Yet, ultimately, we DO know deep inside what is right and what is wrong.
It is all of us, Good Fathers and Informed Mothers of this beautiful country, Guardian Girls and Cool Boys that will keep our girls safe! Collectively, we have the courage and the bravery within us to make India safe.
We are now 3 years into our commitment to doing everything we can to prevent young girls from being trafficked into a life of sexual slavery. On this journey, we have been exposed to the worst that humanity has to offer. Yet, we have also been strengthened, encouraged and fueled by the stories and lives of hundreds of fathers, mothers and girls who hold a relentless commitment to keep their villages safe. Our goal with this Impact Report is that it gives you a glimpse into this surprising hope. We invite you to join us – will you be #OnRedAlert?
– Elca Grobler
We will be publishing the stories from our Impact Report on our blog. However, you can go to our Impact Report and read all our field stories.