More than 20 years back, Pallabi visited a village in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal with one of her uncles. One day she saw a man running around, saying his daughter was missing and he had been searching all around. The incident surprised her as she came from a small railway town, Lumding, and usually, in small towns, most people know each other and their whereabouts. So how could a child go missing, and no one knows anything? Along with the hapless father, Pallabi tried to search for the girl but could not find any clue. She was just 12, then. Dejected, she just noted the names of the missing child’s father and that village and went back home.
However, Pallabi remembered that incident. It lingered in her head, and she started researching missing kids and got introduced to the term trafficking. Pallabi encountered multiple instances of women missing from states like West Bengal, Odisha, and Assam and getting forcefully married to men double their age in states like Haryana and Rajasthan. She started connecting the dots and found that an organized crime of trafficking was happening across the world. Women and girls were falling prey to it mostly. When she dug deeper, Pallabi realized how poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, natural calamities, and unsafe migration contributed to human trafficking.
It affected her so much that she started visiting police stations, shelter homes, and source villages, completed her graduation, and decided to work towards preventing this heinous crime. She decided to start her organization when she encountered cases of organ harvesting where children were falsely declared corona positive and dead. That’s when the vision to start an organization came to her mind, and she decided to start the movement against trafficking.
Amid the ongoing pandemic, shocking reports emerged that children are being falsely declared COVID-positive and then, dead to facilitate organ harvesting. This pushed our founder, Pallabi Ghosh, to establish Impact and Dialogue Foundation (IDF) in December 2020. With this, a long-cherished idea turned into reality.
We involved various stakeholders:
– Conducted trafficking awareness workshops among students in educational institutions.
– Organized training sessions on preventing trafficking for social welfare departments of different state governments.
– Ran outreach campaigns and held door-to-door conversations with tribal communities and tea garden laborers.
We started a one-year stitching course at a vocational training center in Lumding, Assam, for at-risk tribal girls. The aim was to provide them access to livelihood and ensure a regular income under Project Sahay, our flagship project on empowerment and rehabilitation. We also traveled across India, researching the different types of trafficking and modern slavery and advocating their prevention.
We started another center for at-risk women in Lanka, Assam, who have alcoholic husbands and are victims of domestic violence. We also scaled up a shelter home in Canning, West Bengal, for survivors of trafficking and started teaching them vocational skills like stitching and making soaps and incense sticks.
Project Suraksha aims to prevent human trafficking and modern slavery at a macroeconomic level by creating awareness. We believe in avoiding a disease rather than curing it. So the IDF team conducts workshops with educational institutions, training sessions with law enforcement bodies, awareness sessions with at-risk communities, neighborhood outreach events, and intervention activities at railway and bus stations.
Project Uddhaar focuses on rescuing children, youth, and women from various social evils like prostitution, child marriage, bride trafficking, forced labor, organ harvesting, and others by actively intervening during transit or from destinations.
Project Sahay intends to rehabilitate survivors and support the at-risk population by providing livelihood opportunities. IDF works with its partners to train them in vocational skills like stitching, basic computer application, kitchen gardening, and goat farming. IDF also conducts regular counseling sessions, psychological healing activities, and mental health workshops to ensure survivors can holistically reintegrate into society.