Hasina Kharbhih has created the Impulse Model to eradicate human trafficking that thrives on civil unrest and lack of economic opportunities in north-east India. The internationally recognized Impulse model (formerly known as the Meghalaya Model) builds awareness about human trafficking and provides rehabilitation for the victims, particularly focussing on women and children owing to their high vulnerability.
Hasina comprehensively addresses the root causes and the persistent challenges of human trafficking through, firstly, building a strong support system with her 5 Ps, and secondly, giving direct provisions for those in need of care, protection, and empowerment through the 5 Rs. By creating and then leveraging networks within the community she also involves other nonprofits and government bodies in the process. The ‘ 5 Ps’ work around prevention, protection, policing, which includes enhancing the role of law, press, and prosecution. On the other hand, the 5 Rs work around reporting, rescue, rehabilitation by engaging with different stakeholders, repatriation, and reintegration. The ‘5 Ps’ and the ‘5 Rs’ work collectively in response and coordination, engaging a resource-sharing, response-sharing platform adding value to one another.
Having understood that law enforcement in India was neither sensitive to trafficking nor understood or used the laws effectively, Hasina works closely with the law enforcement in north-eastern states to build a strong support system. In partnership with the Northeast Police Academy, she built a self-sustained curriculum with handbooks that trained officers rigorously on a regular basis. She also worked with all levels of the police force, sensitizing them towards human trafficking. The training model was replicated across the 8 north-eastern states and is set to expand to other countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.
Hasina created a rehabilitation exercise using ‘the five Rs’ to ensure high responsiveness for trafficking cases. Impulse works with the Impulse NGO network, anti-human trafficking unit, the police departments, other social organisations and the Department of Social Welfare f in order to identify trafficking cases and rehabilitate the rescued victims. Since rehabilitation is short-term relief, the model works on repatriation of trafficked girls post rehabilitation, helping them integrate back into the society through self-sufficient livelihood options.
Building on her 15 years of experience and understanding of trafficking mechanisms, Hasina started the Empower Brand in 2010 to create employment opportunities in the traditional skills of the area. The Empower brand employs local artisans in Northeast India and generates income for the community leading to reduction in unsafe migration and trafficking instances. Profits are reinvested back into the community.
Hasina has successfully scaled her model to other north-eastern states within the span of 10 years. The Impulse Model is approved by the Indian government and supported by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime and UN Women. The Anti- Trafficking Unit in each state is a by-product of Impulse Model. Through ongoing research, Hasina is building a stronger institutional base that will help expand the Impulse Model and eliminate human trafficking in the long-term.
Note: This was updated in July, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile