19 Women Rescued From Sex Trade Are Being Trained As Prosecutors to Fight Human Trafficking in Court

August 10, 2019 Updated: August 16, 2019

In addition to being the second-largest country by population, India is also infested with human trafficking. The majority of the victims are women and girls, with India having the highest number of underage girls working in brothels in the world.

Initiated by the Free A Girl movement, the School for Justice is an ambitious program that aims to educate these girls to not only get back on their feet but to become prosecutors in the fight to curtail sex trafficking.

De #SchoolforJustice is een grote stap in de strijd tegen kinderprostitutie. Dankzij de steun van bedrijven zoals AFAS Foundation is de school een realiteit. www.schoolforjustice.com

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Free a Girl‎‏ في الاثنين، ١٠ أبريل ٢٠١٧

For most of the girls, trafficking left enduring emotional scars from past trauma. They were mostly deceived with talk of opportunities for employment or marriage and then forced into the sex trade.

Such traumatic experiences can prevent them from finding education and employment later, due to stigmas, or even just to come out of their shells into what has always been for them a hostile and malicious world.

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تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Free a Girl‎‏ في الأربعاء، ٢ يناير ٢٠١٩

One of the many horrifying stories attesting to this life, Sangita left her impecunious family at the age of 9 to work as a domestic servant. At such a young age, Sangita was abused by men who worked alongside her. At the age of 13, she left the house where she worked, but without money or directions for the way home. The ingenuous child asked a beggar on the street for directions, but instead of being helped, she was sold to a brothel.

“I want to fight against child sexual exploitation and help others like me,” Sangita told HuffPost. “I am excited about becoming a lawyer and this is why I joined the School for Justice.”

“I don’t want to be a liar-lawyer, I want to be an honest lawyer. What happened to me has only motivated me. I don’t…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Free a Girl‎‏ في الخميس، ٨ أغسطس ٢٠١٩

Through School for Justice, underage girls are rescued from child prostitution and are provided with room and board. Furthermore, they are assisted to take English and basic law courses to prepare for law school entry.

Partnered with one of the top law universities in India, the program prepared the girls for university to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Law. Once they have the education, they will be empowered to fight the injustice that loomed over their past and stripped them of a childhood.

For safety reasons, full identities and locations of the program are not revealed.

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تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Free a Girl‎‏ في الثلاثاء، ٢٠ نوفمبر ٢٠١٨

Survivors of sex trafficking also suffer from stigma. People think of them as “bad girls” and that they are too “lazy to do other work.” Another victim, Kalyani told HuffPost, “Some parts of our society treat us as ‘something else’ or an insect that has no right to a life or to be a part of mainstream society.”

Often, the girls and women who are rescued are rejected by their own families. “I am still not well accepted at my own home,” said Kalyani. The government often arrests survivors for prostitution or trafficking-related crimes, making it unsafe almost anywhere for them.

De Freedom Fighters hebben gezamenlijk bijna €60.000,- opgehaald voor Lock me Up – Free a Girl 2019! 💪Geweldig! Met nog…

تم النشر بواسطة ‏‎Free a Girl‎‏ في الاثنين، ١٨ فبراير ٢٠١٩

Sex trafficking, although illegal, remains rampant in India. Laws are not properly implemented, and the challenge persists. In 2015, around 1.2 million underage girls worked in brothels in India, but there were only 55 convictions for sex trafficking. In 2014, 77 percent of the traffickers who were arrested ended up being acquitted.

“The police rescued me, after someone working in the red light area tipped them off,” Sangita said. “The people in the brothel, they were not even arrested.”

India’s sex crime laws remains outdated. The country’s last legislative improvement was in 2013 after a fatal gang rape case of a young girl that took place while on a bus. Yet little has changed in the ways those laws are enforced. Other acts such as marital rape are still legal.

Since the current justice system isn’t doing its job well enough, there is work cut out for these future prosecutors to stand up for themselves and for others with a similar past.

“You’re not going to change the system with 19 girls,” program agency J. Walter Thompson told HuffPost. “But you get the ball rolling. They become change agents, the issue gets talked about, international pressure builds on the system for it to change.”

Changing the laws and ensuring enforcement are put on the shoulders of these young trafficking survivors because their experience has instilled a passion that others lack. In hopes of achieving a just society, changing the system is not only necessary but also pressing.