Village heads across rural India will be asked to help fight human trafficking by keeping a register of people who leave in search of work.
The United Nations Development Project (UNDP) is also asking village chiefs to watch out for traffickers who lure villagers with promises of well-paid jobs but force them into the sex trade.
"For the first time, we are going to fight trafficking at the source," Mona Mishra, who heads UNDP's HIV and trafficking project in India, said late on Thursday.
"Beating the traffickers requires a day-to-day, minute-to-minute surveillance that only the community itself can do."
With the help of 40 NGOs, the UNDP will work with 15,000 village panchayats in 11 states over the next 10 months, the agency said.
Panchayat leaders will be asked to log the details of those who set off for work elsewhere, as well as a list of villagers who disappear in unknown circumstances.
The UNDP also wants to start building links between the villages and the usual trafficking destinations -- often the red light districts of large cities such as Mumbai and Kolkata.
Victims often end up in bonded labour, forced marriages and even circus and dance troupes, but most end up forced into prostitution, according to the NGO Shakti Vahini, one of those working on the project.
Most of those forced into the sex trade are still under 18 they are taken.