In 2013, two member organizations of Tafteesh conducted research into the cases of survivors of human trafficking who had been rescued in Maharashtra and returned to their homes in West Bengal. Upon their return, they found that the traffickers who had procured, lured and transported them to their destination point and sold them were free.
These survivors, with the help of their families and a human rights organisation, filed cases against these traffickers in their local police stations. they were subsequently faced with stigma in their communities, threats from the traffickers they had accused, and coerced by several local politicians, community leaders and police officers to withdraw their cases.
This research confirmed structural and systemic gaps in law enforcement and the judicial system, weaknesses in the law and a policy vacuum. It pointed to a lack of resources and little accountability on the part of service providers.
Tafteesh was formed to build an anti-trafficking response with justice for survivors at the core of the mission. It was formed as a platform that sought to bring practitioners together—lawyers, social workers, probation officers, psychologists, researchers, human rights activists, and survivors of trafficking to:
1. Support Indian state and federal governments in forming policies that address structural and systemic gaps.
2. Help survivors claim their rights by engaging with the criminal justice and social welfare systems.
3. Hold service providers accountable to survivors of human trafficking.