In rural areas around large urban centres, such as Mumbai or Kolkata in India, Kathmandu in Nepal, and the Indian border areas of overcrowded Bangladesh, thousands of people live in very precarious conditions that make them vulnerable to trafficking. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly worsened their situation, and increased their risk of being recruited by mafias. The prospect of being able to move to the big city and get a job is often their only hope. But it is also the trap that these networks take advantage of. In this context, Mumbai Smiles provides information about these risks and, at the same time, generates capacities and resources in these communities so that they can improve their living conditions on their own, without having to leave their residence.
Over the past year, this project has worked in rural villages in Thane district in the state of Maharashtra, raising awareness of the risks posed by trafficking networks in order to prevent, in particular girls and women, from falling prey to them.