Rescue a Young Girl From a Brothel

I am traveling to India with the UNC School of Social Work later this month to learn about the greatest social problems facing that country and meet some of the people that have dedicated their lives to solving these problems. One of the organizations we're meeting with is Apne Aap Women's Collective, an amazing group in Mumbai that provides brothel-based prostitutes and their daughters with the tools and resources to leave the sex trade behind.

Apne Aap makes concrete, dramatic improvements in the lives of women forced into a lifestyle that is devastating to their bodies, their minds, and their children, who will often be forced into the sex trade before they reach puberty unless they are given hope for a better life. Oppressive pimps and crushing poverty make it quite impossible for these women to escape prostitution without help. It costs $50 a month for Apne Aap to provide education, food, and medical care to a young girl who would otherwise be in a brothel. Every $50 they get is another girl they can care for that month. . . Every $50 they DON'T get is another girl who finds herself spending a month living a nightmare.

When I meet the organizers of Apne Aap and the women and girls they are giving a new life I want to show up with more than an inquisitive mind and a cheery disposition. I want to show up with funds that can start making a difference immediately. If the love and compassion of my friends and family can help Apne Aap reach twenty more girls that month, that's a beautiful thing.

Donate $5, donate $20, donate $500... Every penny will be hand-delivered and will change the life of each girl it allows Apne Aap to reach. DONATE ANY AMOUNT, the rewards are just there to incentivize extra generous donations.

Visit the website of the Apne Aap Women\'s Collective for more specifics about their life-changing initiatives.

Some facts:

-A prostitute's children will either go unsupervised or sleep under the bed while their mother entertains clients above them.

-90% of the daughters of Indian prostitutes end up in the sex trade as well.

-There is a persistent myth among some in India that unprotected sex with children cures sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. They believe the child will take the disease unto her/himself and free the adult sufferer.

-India's brothels are violent, with ferocious beatings common and pimps sometimes even killing girls who are uncooperative. NY Times columnist Nicholas Kristof relates the words of a young prostitute named Geeta: "The madam said \'If you ever try to run away, we'll chop you up and throw the pieces down the drain.\'"

-There is collusion between the brothels and corrupt elements in the police force. A prostitute explains why brothels hide young girls during police raids: \"Because when the police come through, they confiscate the very young girls, and then the brothel owners have to pay a bribe to get the girls back from the police.\"

Additional reading and viewing:

One woman\'s story, from Apne Aap\'s website.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has written some very stirring articles about the child sex trade in India. One follows a girl he calls M. who has benefited from an organization similar to Apne Aap, but who is being pulled away by her family to be sold into prostitution:

"M. is an ebullient girl, age 10, who ranks near the top of her fourth-grade class and dreams of being a doctor. Yet she, like all of India, is at a turning point, and it looks as if her family may instead sell her to a brothel."

Click here to read the full article.

Another article by Kristof tells a story of raiding a brothel with the local authorities:

"Then another of the girls in the room asked if she could be rescued "” but a few days later. She explained that if she left now, the brothel-owners would blame her for the raid and possibly harm her grandmother, whose address they knew. We told the girl that this chance might not come again."

Click here to read this article.
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