Networking for Change: The Impact of ICT on the Political Organizing of Anti-Trafficking NGOs in Contemporary India
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This research explores how information and communication, technology (ICT) has enabled relatively resource poor actors and individuals to organize in ways that subvert traditional institutions of civil society. Through an analysis of the anti-trafficking strategies being implemented by three Indian NGOs—Apne Aap, Sanlaap, and the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC)—I suggest that formation of technology-enabled social networks (through the Internet, electronic networking, advocacy, and communication) force us to rethink the conventional socio-political hierarchy. This has supplanted traditional civil society and allowed for the emergence of NGOs as more visible, central, and globalised political actors while simultaneously bringing the disenfranchised groups they represent into both informal and formal political conversations. I examine how mechanisms utilized by the aforementioned anti- trafficking NGOs, including discussion forums, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and electronic forms of protest and testimony, rather than serving as tools of mediation traditionally used by civil society, can serve as tools of direct engagement and political demand.