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The Victim Assistance (VA) Program is BBA’s flagship program that functions as a comprehensive model of protecting children from trafficking and forced labor through identification, rescue, legal and rehabilitative support for rescued children. BBA began its activities with this program, which gradually evolved and acquired its current structure and size. This intervention began in 1980 with the rescue of a minor girl from forced labor from a brick kiln in Punjab, who was to be sold into prostitution in Mumbai. The rescue of this girl began BBA’s journey, which to date has rescued and rehabilitated more than 100,000 children from trafficking and forced labor. The knowledge and experience gained from the program has contributed immensely to reforming and reshaping the legal and institutional mechanisms of child protection in the country. The Victim Assistance Program works in line with the BBA’s mission to identify, release, rehabilitate, and educate children in bondage. This is done through prevention, direct intervention, legal action, coalition building, and community-based rehabilitation interventions.

BBA’s entire rescue process is thoroughly researched and intensively and comprehensively prepared. It is conducted in accordance with legal requirements as part of a collective action with specific government agencies. The process often involves physical risks to BBA activists. There have been cases where the activists have been subjected to violent attacks while trying to rescue children. Nevertheless, they have continued unwaveringly in their commitment to protect children.

The Victim Assistance Program includes the following five comprehensive processes:

– Identification:

Identification is done through the BBA’s on-site information network. Information on child rights violations is also collected through complaints from individuals, parents, victims, partner NGOs, and the whistleblower network. The team collects information on community demographics, industry, approximate number of child workers, and the type of work they do, along with other details, to conduct a risk analysis. In addition, BBA recently introduced GIS-based technology to accurately locate and record child labor through smartphones. This has led to greater reliability in rescue operations. After successfully reviewing the information collected from various sources, complaints are filed with the relevant Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) to initiate action.

– Rescue:

Based on the complaints filed, the BBA, in conjunction with LEAs, plans a rescue operation and raids the identified sites/facilities. Prior to the operation, support and partnership is sought with the local administration, which is an important aspect of this intervention to avoid any violation of the law. Thereafter, the identified victims are removed in a raid led by the District Magistrate and other government agencies. BBA ensures that the children are safely removed from the scene and placed in a safe environment (Child Care Institution) during this phase, according to the instructions of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a statutory body. During the rescue, LEAs also initiate action against errant traffickers/employers to sanction economic recovery and take other punitive measures under the law to prevent child exploitation.

– Rehabilitation:

After rescue, children are placed in Child Care Institutions (CCI) under the order of the CWC, where their safety and protection are ensured. Children are sent either to Mukti Ashram (BBA’s short-term rehabilitation center) or to CCIs run by the government and other NGOs for short-term rehabilitation.


To provide immediate care and shelter to rescued children, BBA has established a short-term rehabilitation home in Delhi called “Mukti Ashram.” During their stay, the children are provided with food, clothing, legal aid, medical care, psychological support, and learning and recreational opportunities. The children are also assisted with post-rescue processes such as presenting themselves before the CWC for repatriation, opening bank accounts to receive back wages and compensation, issuing discharge certificates, etc. As per the rules of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015, the Ashram forms children committees to involve them in certain activities. The children committees are formed through elections and the children are encouraged to create their manifesto and build consensus with their peers. The children’s committee, along with the staff, makes decisions about the daily operations of the ashram, building in them a sense of responsibility and leadership. The duration of the children’s stay depends on the completion of legal formalities and ranges from 2 to 6 weeks.


The repatriation process for most rescued children is completed at Mukti Ashram and they are reunited with their families according to CWC guidelines. However, in cases where the children are considered orphans or their parents cannot be located/contacted, they are sent to Bal Ashram – a long-term rehabilitation center of the BBA (based in Rajasthan) on the instructions of CWC. In addition, during follow-up, cases are always found where the parents are unable to take care of their children, and they too are taken to Bal Ashram to prevent further trafficking.

The children of Bal Ashram are supported through schooling and vocational training. Most children are enrolled in nearby public schools. Younger children attend literacy and numeracy classes, while children over the age of 14 receive vocational training in computers, tailoring, carpentry, electrical and welding, and social and environmental education.

– Legal aid:

To create legal and economic deterrence, BBA ensures that each child’s case is represented in court and lawsuits are filed against employers/traffickers in court. One of the first steps to ensure prosecution is to register First Information Reports (FIR) against the employers/traders under the relevant sections of the Act and file chargesheets in a time-bound manner. BBA’s legal team supports the children and their families during the process and ensures that they recover their wages and other legal compensation.

– Post-Repatriation Follow-Up:

BBA believes that rescue is only half the job. It is important to ensure that children remain safe and healthy, recover from the trauma they have experienced, go to school, and remain protected from being trafficked again after they return home.

The process begins by reuniting children with their families. BBA maintains contact with them through direct visits or phone calls. Community workers visit the children at home and initiate the process to ensure they receive their compensation and can continue their education. Strengthening families is an integral part of the rehabilitation process, so every effort is made to strengthen families by improving their access to the government’s social security schemes for employment guarantee, housing, food security, and medical care with the help of the panchayats and district magistrates.

BBA also believes that creating a safe space and rehabilitating rescued children is everyone’s responsibility. To ensure holistic and effective rehabilitation, children’s participation must be central to the engagement process. Therefore, BBA forms groups of children and adults (Children’s Groups and People’s Vigilance Committees) for the community-based vigilance mechanism. The groups are equipped with knowledge and tools to protect the community’s children, address issues related to children, identify threats, report unsafe situations, and systematically address an age-old practice of child exploitation. These groups help bridge the gap between the community and village-level child protection mechanisms and make them more accountable.