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The Story of Apne Aap Women Worldwide

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My name is Ruchira Gupta. I'm the founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an organization which is working to end sex trafficking. I used to be a journalist and I made a documentary called The Selling of Innocents with 22 women in prostitution from Bombay, and it was a life changing experience for me at the end of which I ended up setting up this organization. I was walking through the hills of Nepal when I came across rows of villages which didn't have any girls from age 15 to 45, and I began to ask the men in those villages: where are the girls? Few answered and they said, "Oh they are in Bombay. Don't you know?" These villages were, you know, two hours away from the road, 1,400 kilometers away from Bombay. And when I began to ask the question, the answer was devastating. Because I found that the flesh trade existed in Apne Aap means self-help or self-empowerment. When the 22 women in prostitution would help me make the documentary asked me, they said "Can you help us?" I said, "No, I can't help you. Ultimately, you have to help yourself because otherwise the help will not happen." They said, "But we are not educated, we are not rich, how can we help ourselves?" So I said, "That bit I can do. And together we can try to help each other and rescue each other." The first thing we do in Apne Aap is that we create a safe space inside a red-light area, inside a slum, which a girl or a woman can easily access. Because that itself takes them out of the place of exploitation. But the next thing we do is that we form them into a group so they find 9 friends. Where they can talk, laugh, share stories with each other, so the isolation goes away. And they realize that this is not their shame. Then we started community classrooms. We start with the daughters of the women in prostitution, because they definitely want to save their daughters from the same destiny that they had. So we organize them and they access all these things, starting from the safe space to ending up becoming a mainstream getting job training, having bank accounts, enrollment for their children in school and adult literacy programs that they've been through and a skill, saving and inter-loaning among themselves, so business planning the ability to start a small tea store, a grocery store, a something and turning their lives around. Apne Aap today has grown to more than 10 thousand women and girls all over India. Apne Aap is not just an NGO. We are a movement to bring about this change and we need help because we want mainstream society to join this movement. The revolution will happen when a victim speaks up and when someone who's not a victim empathizes with her. And we're looking for that moment of empathy from mainstream society. And in different ways They can volunteer with our organization. They can intern with our organization. They can help fund raise. The woman have needs. School fees, pain supplies, legal fees to help them fight it out against a trafficker in court, to even run an office sometimes, to pay the staff What people can do is of course go onto our website, apneaap.org, and just to leave money to us through PayPal. That is the first and the most easiest option for people. But it really is transformation. Our mission of course is to end sex-trafficking by dismantling the system of prostitution, and we see prostitution as a system because we see it as a supply side and a demand side. It's been a long journey and we are hoping to actually create a movement in the world, to reach out to at least 500,000 women so that our voice is strong enough for even the most powerful to hear and understand. Thank you.

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Duration: 4 minutes and 10 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Posted by: us_apneaap on Jul 9, 2019

Ruchira Gupta is the Founder and President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide – a grassroots organization in India working to end sex trafficking by increasing choices for at-risk girls and women. She has striven over her 25 year career to highlight the link between trafficking and prostitution laws, and to lobby policy makers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators. In this short video, Ruchira explains the approach Apne Aap takes to help women and girls who are victims of sex trafficking and prostitution in India. For more information on the NGO Apne Aap Women Worldwide or to find out how you can help these women and girls please visit www.ApneAap.org

Video Editing Credit: Storm Warriors

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