Human Trafficking (HT) manifests itself in various forms such as forced labour, bonded labour, sex trafficking, child trafficking, involuntary servitude and debt bondage. With over 8 million people experiencing modern slavery, India ranks 53rd amongst 167 countries analysed by the Global Slavery Index. In response to the growing concern, organisations have increasingly begun to accelerate their efforts on combating HT along with the community groups and Government Institutions.

Designing a report about a Landscape and Solutions Study for a Stronger Anti-Human Trafficking Ecosystem in India was an interesting challenge. The narrative had to be based on HOPE and the story of the journey was visualised through illustrations, each that stood as an open invitation for interpretation.

Trafficking, in the simplest of words, means a person having CONTROL over another person, for the purpose of EXPLOITATION. In order to symbolise ANTI_TRAFFICKING, we need to paint a picture of hope. Against a rising sun, hands that were tied are BREAKING FREE. Conventional chains imply only bonded labour, but puppet strings depict so much more – that the victim was a mere puppet – used, and controlled to the advantage of the perpetrator. The strings are snapped to symbolise freedom. Birds that sat on wires, seemingly helpless, now fly free into the open sky, as if they have finally realised their potential. This reflects a sense of EMPOWERMENT – to be able to make one’s own decisions. Plants grow and bloom to create HOPE and a way to prosperity – meaning multiple OPPORTUNITIES to explore, gain ground and start afresh. To draw a specific ‘Indian’ context, apart from the colours, a light wash of ethnic patterns was added to cohesively bind the entire narrative.

To read the entire report, click here.

The image of hands tied conveys the helplessness of the victim of human trafficking. Chapter 1 deals with the grim facts and therefore, the image showcases no colour. Chapter 2 elucidates the solutions to combat Human Trafficking. A hand holding a stalk with a bud and blooming flower showcases a symbol of hope. The narrative changes from the ‘victim’ to a ‘survivor’ – the solutions, in the form of a flower bring that positive change to the life of the victim, thereby transitioning him/her into a ‘survivor’.
Chapter 3 is about organisations and leaders, being represented as birds. While birds are represented as enablers, the ecosystem in itself is steeped in contradictions – Pride and guilt, hope and pessimism, leadership and subordination. The bare trees are symbolic of the limitations in the ecosystem, that treats the subject of human-trafficking without a humane touch. Yet, there are leaders, who are outliers – proud and hopeful of making a difference, who inspire others within the ecosystem to break free. Chapter 4 deals with the way forward. Hands sow seeds depicting help and hope. The Survivor who has turned into a change maker, hopes to enable others like him/her to find opportunities to grow and prosper (depicted as plants). The rising sun and the birds (ecosystem) paint a hopeful picture of a new beginning.