Jump to content Jump to footer
South AsiaIndia

Human trafficking and traumas - a way out through dance and movement therapy

In the foothills of the metropolis of Kolkata in the Indian state of West Bengal, AWO International works with the partner organization Kolkata Sanved against human trafficking. The project focuses on healing and empowering affected and disadvantaged women and girls through the medium of dance and movement therapy.

Die Mädchen auf dem Foto tanzen und posieren
Advance capacity building sessions for leaders.

The South 24 Parganas district has the second highest number of trafficking cases in West Bengal. Due to the climatic conditions, especially the severe cyclones during the rainy season and increasing salinization of the agricultural land, unemployment and poverty are constantly rising. The per capita income of South 24 Parganas is considerably below the national average. Due to these factors and the remoteness of the project area, the inhabitants of South 24 Parganas are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of human trafficking.

Our local partner organisation Kolkata Sanved (Bengali for "empathy") was officially founded in 2004 by a social worker and four survivors of human trafficking. The original focus of the organisation was on the use of dance and movement therapy for the rehabilitation of survivors of gender-based violence. Now Kolkata Sanved also offers programmes for children and young people at risk to strengthen and promote their self-confidence and social participation.

Strengthening women's participation and empowerment

In the project with our partner organisation Kolkata Sanved, we use dance and movement therapy to free victims of sexual abuse and human trafficking from their traumas. In this way, they learn to re-establish a new relationship with themselves and the surrounding social world.  The focus is also on girls who live in low-income families and who are at increased risk of human trafficking. Through therapy, participants are encouraged to gain control over their bodies and emotions, to express their opinions and exercise their rights. By strengthening these skills, participants are encouraged to actively and independently develop mechanisms to protect themselves from human trafficking. Part of the project is therefore also to sensitise young people to involve members of the community in education programmes to prevent human trafficking. In this way, a total of at least 320 community members will be reached. Thematic network groups continue to provide a platform for exchange with stakeholders and members of the government to discuss their concerns and possible preventive measures. 

April supplement 2023

The project was successfully completed at the end of 2022. A total of 111 adolescent girls participated in the sessions of the well-being clubs initiated by the project. The well-being clubs provide a safe space for adolescent girls to share ideas about prevention of trafficking, gender-based violence, and child marriage. In all four well-being clubs, the members developed posters with awareness-raising messages and placed them in strategic locations in the communities, reaching approximately 700 community members. By acquiring knowledge on human trafficking, the community is now able to respond to the risks of human trafficking. Several actions to address child marriages in the project communities also took place at the initiative of the members of the well-being clubs.


Project Sampoornata Well-being Club: a pilot model initiative to create trafficking resilient communities using DMT
Place/Region The project's primary working area is the South 24 Parganas district of the Indian state of West Bengal. The administrative unit Kakdwip (subdivision) with the two subunits Kakdwip and Sagar (block) was selected for direct project implementation. Sev
Partner Kolkata Sanved
Target group The direct target group of the project includes young, adolescent girls who are considered particularly at risk of becoming victims of trafficking in human beings. Due to the contact and cooperation with the young adolescent women, the stakeholders (
  •  Establishment and strengthening of associations to promote well-being and self-esteem
  • Thematic capacity building for social workers in the respective blocks and district
  • Sensitization measures and dance & movement therapy training for the members of the associations to promote well-being and self-esteem
  • Development and production of information, education and communication material for awareness-raising activities on human trafficking 
  • Advocacy work with government representatives and state institutions
  • Mass information campaigns in the project communities on human trafficking
  • Establishment and strengthening of collaborative networks
  • Regular work meetings between network members and members of associations to promote well-being and self-esteem
Duration 2020 - 2022
Budget 130.756 Euro
Sponsor BMZ Sozialstrukturförderung

You might also be interested in

Together with OCDIH we support families financially to buy food and hygiene products (Photo: OCDIH)
Central AmericaHonduras

Corona in Honduras: Financial support for families

The poorer sections of the population in Honduras are facing major challenges as a result of the COVID 19 crisis. Strict restrictions on their access to work and income prevent them from working, and at the same time the government's aid measures are not comprehensive. AWO International therefore offers financial support that enables 388 families to purchase food and hygiene products.

more information
Our partner organisation COVOID distributing hygiene material in the Nakivale refugee camp (Photo: AWO International)

With information campaigns and hygiene packages against the spread of Corona

Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world and suffers from a fully utilized health system. With the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, this system faces a huge challenge. Together with our partner organization COVOID, we distribute hygiene packages and carry out information campaigns.

more information

Cookie consent

AWO International e.V. uses cookies to ensure the smooth functioning of our platform (technically necessary cookies). In addition, we ask for your consent to the use of cookies for analysis purposes and improvement of the platform (statistical cookies).