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An Experiential Analysis of the Post-Trafficking Policies Applicable to Women in West Bengal, India

Many people believe slavery to be a shameful, age old concept that thankfully ended before they were born. The tragic reality is that more slaves exist today than ever before, and numbers are increasing. This phenomenon is labelled ‘human trafficking’ in contemporary parlance and affects more women than men, with a significant concentration in South Asia. Hence, this research explored the experiences of women who were trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation in West Bengal, along with the supports available to them and front line agencies involved. This paper focuses primarily on the remit and implementation of aftercare policies currently available through government and non-government channels.


This research identified poverty, gender, and lack of access to education as the primary drivers of human trafficking in the region, along with lack of implementation and systemic abuses, such as corruption, as the factors which hamper eradication efforts. Nonetheless, recent years have seen significant improvements to statutes and the overall approach of State, legal, and administrative institutions. The ensuing recommendations centre largely on extending social awareness around these issues, a tactic with proven effectiveness in the region.


A feminist approach underpinned by a critical theory perspective provided the framework within which women’s lives and stories could be analysed against the research objectives. A qualitative methodology best supported the aim of strongly representing participants’ experiences and opinions.


Laoise Ní Bhriain 2012

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