This profile was prepared when Hasina Kharbhih was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2006.
The New Idea
Historically isolated by geography and politics, and torn by ethnic conflict, Northeast India is emerging as a center for human trafficking. Poverty, which is one effect of armed conflict in the region, has displaced people from their homes, rendering children and young women vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Hasina developed the Meghalaya Model to combat child trafficking in Northeast India as a single comprehensive strategic plan, to be adopted by all state agencies and citizen organizations in the region and on the nearby crossings to Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Thailand, and Bangladesh. The model enables government and citizen groups to jointly implement the “three Ps” prevention, protection, and prosecution, and the “three Rs” rescue, relief, and rehabilitation. The different actors communicate and share data more efficiently, and use the same training manuals, standard operating procedures, and public-awareness campaign. A legal support network, which includes a victim-protection program, identifies and reports on traffickers. An anti-trafficking course is being integrated into the curriculum of Police Training Schools with the aim of creating child-friendly systems. A Helpline Resource Directory of the region has also been developed with the help of the Meghalaya government’s Department of Social Welfare. The Meghalaya Model ensures the coordinated implementation of all these initiatives across the different groups involved.Hasina works directly with the state government and government agencies to make sure that the model is fully incorporated into their operations instead of merely being linked to it. Pilot testing of the Meghalaya model has been verified as effective and it is one of the best practice models included in the South Asian Regional Initiative/Equity study by Management System International in Washington and supported by USAID for replication in South East Asia.