What is the extent of human trafficking?

It is impossible to put an accurate figure on human trafficking but the best global estimate, the Global Estimates of Modern Slavery report, says there are more than 40 million people enslaved today. It is a global crime, affecting almost every country and to the criminal networks responsible, it is worth tens of billions of dollars every year.

Isn't the main issue one of demand?

Demand is a crucial factor. We do need to change attitudes, cultures and behaviours. That is one aspect, and a longer-term ambition.

We also need to save people who have been trafficked today. We cannot wait until we change attitudes on a global scale to save people.

Trafficking is extremely complex and therefore requires a sophisticated response. It is going to be ended in the long term through a multi-pronged approach. This involves undermining the business model, changing legislation and saving lives.

What are your overall objectives?

Our overall objective is to end human trafficking. However, whilst we have an ultimate goal to end trafficking, we intend to see it begin to reduce within five years.

In order to do this, we need to focus and we cannot operate in every country in the world. We are currently focused on South Asia, where 50% of the problem is. 

This involves groundbreaking operational work (saving lives) and working with the State to achieve systemic change (breaking the grip of crime).

Is Justice and Care one charity or a collection of charities?

Justice and Care is a global partnership of charities based in the UK, Netherlands, India and the United States.  Our Bangladesh operations are also in the process of becoming independent.

We also believe that, as slavery is a local issue, it demands a local response. We empower local organisations who then work together on a global level.  

How does Justice and Care work on the ground with other organisations?

We work with other organisations, statutory and non-statutory, across our work. This includes working with community-based organisations to prevent trafficking, with government and privately run shelter homes and with educational institutions in regards to research. We also partner with technical skills development organisations to integrate their services into our aftercare programs.

We are also developing a network of like-minded organisations, aimed at working together globally to fight slavery and learn from one another.

This problem is enormous and you hardly make a dent. What makes you think Justice and Care can make a tangible difference?

On a macro level, we have worked with authorities and seen them take real ownership of the issue – working together, for example, to take out whole networks of criminals responsible for the crime. 

We are driving systemic change where we work. For example, on International Women’s Day the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, launched nationally a unique course we have developed to enable trafficking survivors to access national skill development programmes. We know that one NGO cannot solve the whole problem, so our focus on systemic change is key.

An example of this is our Child-Friendly Court work.  We were able to trial it in India and now we are seeing the courts being rolled out across the country.  This wide-reaching impact is what we are working towards.

Do you honestly believe you can end human trafficking?

We believe we can see an end to trafficking with the right global strategy and partnerships in place.

How has your work been affected by charity regulation in India?

The Indian Government has restricted thousands of charities from receiving overseas funding, Justice and Care included.

Fortunately steps to help make our Indian operation more self-sustainable mean that we have every confidence for the work moving forward.

We will continue to work with the incredible team in India strategically and also in the sharing of good practice.