Press Release: Apne Aap Women Worldwide commits at the Clinton Global Initiative

Expansion of the Apne Aap self help model in the next 5 years to prevent and protect 3,000 women and girls from sex trafficking in India. The Self Help model organizes these women and girls in small community based economic and social cooperatives (Self Help Groups) under the umbrella of Apne Aap’s Anti-Trafficking Units to access legal protection, livelihood options and educational learning.

Each of the women’s co-operative elects its own office bearers who are office bearers trained to constantly evaluate their programs and and articulate their needs.

These SHGs meet and are trained in the Apne Aap Anti-trafficking Units where project coordinators are available for problem solving and advice.

Members of Self Help Groups are trained to:

– Oversee their own income generation activities

– To enroll children into schools and keep track of drop outs

– Monitor gender-based violence and trafficking cases within the community.

Commitment Objective

– Mainstream at least 1,000 children, especially girls into formal schools

– Register 3,000 women and girls into 200 Self Help Groups

– Play a vital role in changing the Indian anti-trafficking law on behalf of victims and survivors of trafficking

 

Background

There are 100 million adolescent girls (10-19yrs) living in poverty in India. The female literacy rate in India is 53.67%  as opposed to the male literacy rate of 75.26%; 36.8% of girls in India are married before reaching the age of 18 yrs.

These inequalities and deeply entrenched gender discrimination render girls extremely vulnerable to domestic servitude, bonded labour, physical, sexual, psycho-social abuse and human trafficking. Girls form the majority of 1.2 million prostituted children in India today (Central Bureau of Investigation, 2009). Whole communities of certain castes are at risk or are victims of trafficking.

Organized criminal networks have formed alliances with profiteers from the sex, tourism, pharmaceutical and pornography industries and are now further entrenched within India. The dominance of organized crime networks in the trafficking industry has been documented in the 2007 Annual Crime Report in India brought out by the Bureau of Police Research.

While the ages of those trafficked is going down, the number of brothel districts and destination sites are going up, according to the Action Research conducted by the national Human Rights Commission of India. Now whole communities of certain castes are at risk or are victims of trafficking. The capacity of shelters cannot match the rise in the trafficking of women and girls in India.

Apne Aap’s work with women and girls has shown that the most vulnerable groups to all kinds of violence and discrimination are teenage girls who, due to lack of education, low socio-economic background of their families, cultural and religious factors, are easy prey to situations leading to domestic servitude, bonded labour, physical, sexual, psycho-social abuse and human trafficking. Most importantly, the lack of safety and support systems in the communities further aggravates their vulnerability.

A community-led victim-centric approach to combat trafficking is more sustainable. Apne Aap has found that this is possible if small group structures of women and girls are facilitated and protected by Apne Aap team members. This enables victims, survivors and women and girls at risk to be able to resist the organized crime networks, to access other livelihood options and advocate for social, criminal and economic policy changes in a more sustainable way.

Therefore, there is a need to empower not only women in the red light districts and slums but also these young girls through livelihood trainings, access to educational services, legal protection to build their capacities to resist violence and all forms of exploitation.

 Commitment Details.

Strengthen the Apne Aap Anti Trafficking Units to prevent and protect 3000 women and girls from sex-trafficking by :

-Registering 200 Self Help Groups of women and girls in slums and brothel districts in India over 5 years

-Enrolling at least 1,000 children, especially daughters of women in prostitution into mainstream schools with help of self-help group members

-Providing non-formal education and bridge courses to 1000 children especially girls till they are prepared for mainstream schools

-Provide recurring trainings to 2000 adult females on enrolling and monitoring children in schools over a 5-year period

– Help 3,000 women and girls open bank accounts and start savings

-Provide 3 day recurring in-depth Self Help Group orientation workshops to 1000 adolescent, and 2000 adult females over 5 years. Workshop topics will include group registration, opening and operating bank accounts, conducting and recording meetings, available Government income generation policies, availing a loan

-Provide recurring in-depth human rights/leadership workshops to 1000 adolescent and 2000 adult females over a 5-year period. Through interactive methodologies, workshop topics link human rights and trafficking issues

– Hold advocacy programs like open mike sessions, rallies and street plays and writing for women’s newspaper (Red Light Despatch) among the 200 self-help groups to be distributed among at least 10,000 people monthly in all anti-trafficking units.

-Teach members of self-help groups to mobilize other women, write petitions, and run signature campaigns to articulate their dreams and needs.

Newness of Commitment

Apne Aap will work to deepen, scale up and replicate its Self Help model (based on its work and experiences in the various red-light areas it currently works at, in particular in the state of Bihar in India)  to reach more women and girls.

It will strengthen its anti-trafficking units to mentor and monitor at least 200 self-help groups so that it can directly impact on the lives of 3,000 more women and girls by getting them into schools and creating dignified livelihood options.

It will also tie up with research and academic bodies to document a theoretical framework of its approach so that it can further develop the premise of “self-help” by rolling out this model; first in other villages, towns and cities of the Indian states that Apne Aap already operates in, then in other parts of India and finally across other countries in South Asia and other developing and under-developed countries where exploitation and trafficking are rampant.

Apne Aap believes strongly that based on its experience and accumulated knowledge and expertise, it is now time to make a leap forward and engage the international community and other grass roots organizations in its community-based and women centric approach to combating sex-trafficking where it combines learning, livelihood and legal protection in small decentralized groups of women protected by the umbrella of the Apne Aap anti-

trafficking unit.

MEASURES OF SUCCESS

Economic Opportunity Target
Number of people who will generate sustainable income through self-employment or new job opportunities 15,000 women and girls
Number of people who will have improved access to capital and financial services 3000
Number of girls/women to be supported through empowerment initiatives 15000
Number of people to obtain access to information technology 4000 people
 
Education Target
Number of children to gain access to education (formal or non-formal school programs) 1500 per year
Number of children to gain access to improved quality of education 824 per year
Number of girls to be reached by interventions targeting female enrollment 1000 per year
Number of children to be reached by school feeding programs 1500 per year
Number of people who will benefit from skills-based professional training programs 3000
Number of people to become actively engaged in efforts to promote education 100
   
Global Health Target
Number of people to have increased access to health services 3500 per year
Number of children who will have benefited from malnutrition interventions 1500 per year