In commemoration of International Women’s Day, we are giving away a copy of Aung San Suu Kyi’s biography this week. All you have to do is tell us about a woman who has inspired you, and you could be the lucky winner. (Contest ended on Mar 10, 2013) Vasudha Rao did more than just tell us about a remarkable woman, she also shared her blogpost with us. Here is her account of Sunitha Krishnan – the anti-trafficking crusader!
I was introduced to Prajwala by a friend on the internet. As I read and understood what Dr. Sunitha Krishnan has done and continues to do, I was filled with admiration and respect for her.
A victim of gang rape herself, Sunitha Krishnan has risen from the ashes to rescue others from trafficking. The tasks she has on hand are just too enormous. Her organization has been instrumental in rescuing and rehabilitating thousands of women and children.
She has a blog titled “Sunitha Krishnan: Anti-Trafficking Crusader” where she recounts her experiences of rescue. Actually, her blog is not an easy read. It is very difficult to read about small girls (as young as four year old) being raped by fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and neighbours. Her blog posts can just shame us all out of our peaceful existence. The least we can do is spread awareness about the scourge of trafficking.
We are a very proud nation, boasting of our glorious past and our current status of being an ‘economic giant’. But we seem to brush under the carpet the sins committed by us. Trafficking is increasing at an alarming rate and no one is spared. Girls are brought in from Nepal and sold to brothels all across our nation. The alarming part is that people who are involved in all this are the ones who are trusted by victims.
The condition of the victims is worse than that of slaves! The victims are subjected to the worst form of sexual abuse often accompanied by violence. It leaves the victims emotionally as also physically brutalised. The victims have to keep catering to many clients and end up with HIV/AIDS. Then, they are just discarded as they are now useless and cannot bring in any returns for their owners.
Sunitha’s organization ‘Prajwala’ has been rehabilitating the victims after rescuing them. Shelters have been built and a factory has been opened where skills like carpentry, welding, etc. are taught to the girls. Prajwala also tries to unite the victims with their families. Sometimes, the victims are not accepted back by the families owing to the backwardness of our views on women. At such times, Prajwala takes full responsibility of these victims. Some women and girls are also married off by Prajwala in its endeavour to integrate the victims back into society. Prajwala also takes care of the last rites of the victims who pass away. In all these tasks, Prajwala faces stiff opposition from our society.
Prajwala works with police and other law enforcement agencies in this job of fighting commercial sexual expolitation. The organization never seeks publicity for the rescue of the girls, letting its work speak for itself.
Prajwala and Sunitha have won many awards for their exemplary work. They are now sought after the world over by programs for rescue and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking. Even State governments are listening to Prajwala and Sunitha in effecting measures for the prevention of trafficking. All this will surely help in minimising this crime.
Sunitha has said time and again that the silence of the society towards human trafficking has to change. Let us become aware and appreciate Prajwala.
Also read about Sonali Mukherjee who survived a devastating acid attack to now fight violence against women.