This profile was prepared when Roma Debabrata was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Roma is combating trafficking of women and children by creating an informal policing system within communities. She is turning migrants living in the urban centers into informed, vigilant investigators, effective at gathering and handling information critical to rescue efforts and arrests. Roma focuses on training citizens to serve as leaders and liaisons to the rest of the community, spreading useful information and developing a community-wide effort to reduce trafficking. Roma is not interested in bypassing the authority of police; on the contrary, she is helping to establish a collaborative, mutually reinforcing effort that brings together the knowledge of community members and the legal authority of police. She is strengthening relationships within communities and building bridges between the communities and law enforcement agents.