History of INGON
Hasina Kharbhih, the founder and current Chair Of Board of Impulse NGO Network started volunteering in the social development sector in 1987. Meeting like-minded volunteers and local organisations working with Shillong’s poor and vulnerable groups, led her to organise a group of volunteers to develop and implement rural livelihood initiatives in 1993 in Meghalaya.
Our efforts to tackle trafficking of persons only began in 1996. Up until this period, we were working with women artisans, in the rural areas of the province, to help them apply their traditional skills to develop a sustainable livelihood. Eventually, in establishing trust and rapport with these women, we were approached to investigate children who had gone missing from the community. On further inspection, we realised that children were being trafficked to urban areas for forced labour through unsafe migration, as domestic maids or working in tea stalls or found on the streets begging. With no other organisation around in the North-East to tackle this issue, we found ourselves starting to address the increasing rate of human trafficking in the region through public awareness, capacity-building and case intervention.
On February 11, 1999, Impulse NGO Network was officially registered under the Meghalaya Societies Registration Act (1983).
Our work with rural communities started to evolve gradually when we realised that the safety of young children was being comprised for the purpose of employment through unsafe migration. We started getting reports of children going missing in the community and as we further investigated the issue, we were alarmed by the ugly signs of human trafficking.
In the early 2000s, we further assessed the situation and we realised there was an absence of services for the protection of trafficked persons and a lack of effective victim-friendly procedures to prevent human trafficking. It was also during this period that human trafficking was not even acknowledged as a social problem in the North East region of India.
However, all that changed when we started taking a persistent approach in bringing the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of the government, while also forming a strong collaborative partnership with law enforcement agencies and other concerned government departments.
Ever since then, INGON has developed a systematic and holistic strategy, called the Impulse Model that successfully brings together the state government, security agencies, legal groups, media, and citizen organisations to combat the cross-border trafficking of children in the porous north-eastern states of India.
In 2013, INGON filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the National Green Tribunal principal bench in New Delhi of India against the illegal method of coal mining practiced in the state of Meghalaya. In the coal mines of Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, an estimated 70,000 children were found working in hazardous conditions. With the order of the National Green Tribunal, coal mining in Meghalaya has been officially banned and all child laborers are in the process of receiving compensation and treatment.
In the last 22 years, INGON has assisted more than 72,379 human trafficking victims.
Today, INGON’s organisational activities are defined and conducted under the pillars of the Impulse Model. With a proven record of successful results in anti human-trafficking in eight north eastern states of India, north Bengal, and scale to Myanmar. Neighbouring countries of Nepal and Bangladesh have noticed our good practice procedure and have requested to replicate the model in their respective locations.