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Migration is the crossing of the boundary of a political or administrative unit for a certain minimum period of time. It includes the movement of refugees, displaced persons, uprooted people as well as economic migrants. Internal migration refers to a move from one area (a province, district or municipality) to another within one country. International migration is a territorial relocation of people between nation-states. (UNESCO)

Migration and trafficking are distinct but interconnected and intertwined. Often trafficking is passed off as a case of legitimate migration and again, cases of trafficking are hidden within migratory trends, e.g, when girls are trafficked on the pretext of domestic work from areas where migration for domestic work is common. They are actually trafficked for domestic work and sexual exploitation.

X (name changed) migrated from Jalpaiguri District in West Bengal to Delhi as domestic help through an employment agency which claimed to place girls from the area in lucrative jobs as domestic workers. X was abused everyday by the employer and never received any wages

The major reasons for migration from West Bengal are

  1. Low and variable agricultural productivity
  2. Lack of local employment or opportunities for advancement
  3. Landlessness
  4. Marginalization
  5. Population pressure
  6. Domestic or community conflict
  7. Political unrest, natural calamities
  8. Ignorance about trafficking and exploitation
Magnitude and Pattern of Internal Female Migration in West Bengal
Intra-District: 71.9 % From other states: 7.1%
Inter-District: 18.5 % From other countries: 2.4 %
Type of migration  
Rural to Rural: 58.6 % Urban to Urban 18.5 %
Rural to Urban 19.3% Urban to Rural 3.5%

Source- NSSO 55th round House hold survey data

Chronology of Model

Year Events
2004 Starting of Safe Migration Program in 2 Panchayats each at Swarupnagar in 24Parganas-North & Beldanga-I in Murshidabad
2005 Five more Panchayats were added and setting up of Tracking Centre at Delhi ( to track the girls who are going to Delhi for domestic help from rural Bengal) & Safe Migration booth at Ghojadanga, District 24Parganas-North at Indo Bangladesh Border
2006 Continued the programme in 24Parganas-North & Murshidabad.Tracked twoWest Bengal girl in Delhi who worked as domestic help and committed suicide after torture by the employer in Delhi, tracked & rescued five more girls
2007 Advocacy with NCW(National Commission for Women) for some guideline ( rules and regulations)forPlacementagencies at Delhi
2008 Safe Migration Model of Jabala recognized as best practice to prevent Human Trafficking by UNODC & Govt. of India – Compendium of Best Parctices( Page 99-102)
2008 Recommendations from NCW to State Women’s Commission to implement the Jabala’s process in West Bengal. Enquiry done by State Womens’ Commission.Meeting byState Women’s Commission to present the result Jabala’s initiative as pilot and modelin presence of allGovernment departmental line heads vizLabour, Education ,Police( CID department);Social Welfare & P&RD.and National Commission for Women
2008 Piloting of Safe Migration Program in two Panchayats each at Dakshin Dinajpur & Murshidabad where Jabala never carried out the program awarded by Panchayat & Rural Development Department; Govt. of West Bengal
2009-2012 Program on Safe Migration in 280Panchayats of seven districts awarded by &RD Deptt. Govt. of West Bengal with active support of UNICEF
Till date Continuing in Panchayats

Major Facets of the Safe Migration program

Most of the out-migrants do not carry proper document about themselves. Very few take residence certificates from the Panchayat. Most also do not have proper address of their destination and blindly rely on those whom they accompany

Knowing well that a well-established pattern of trafficking is hidden in migration data, Jabala has started a `Safe Migration’ programme. The aim, as apparent in the term is to ensure that migration is to a safe and non-exploitative environment. The program was a trafficking prevention method with special emphasis on female & child migrants. Tracked and rescued 325 missing cases which remained as unsolved mystery for long

Migrants felt empowered has they had an identity, it was revealed more clearly by the migrants who travelled to Mumbai are not treated as Bangladeshis Creation of a data bank on migrants about the nature of work; probable destinations and routings

Achievement against project objectives:

Project objectives Progress against indicators
1.    To train 5600 Gram Panchayat functionaries on migration record keeping processes including of data processing in 280 selected Gram Panchayats in seven districts 3504 Panchayat functionaries reached in
280 Panchayats of the seven districts
through Panchayat level workshops and
follow up sessions 
2.    To train 42000 GUS (Gram Unnayan Samity) members on keeping records of migration from the villages at 
their level and updating the records
49850 GUS members reached through Trainer’s Training and Follow Up sessions
3.    To train 33000 Self Help Group (SHG) members and other community groups on keeping records 42024 SHG & other Community group members reached through Trainer’s Training and Follow Up sessions
4.    To generate awareness among district and block level functionaries including Zilla Parishad and Panchayat Samity members on Safe Migration procedures District level authorities of Jalpaiguri, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda , Murshidabad, Nadia & Coochbehar and  all selected block authorities have been  made aware of the program