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.
She testified in the United States Senate before the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, and she lobbied with other activists at the United Nations during the formulations for the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons — resulting in the first UN instrument to address demand for trafficking in Article 9.
In 2009 Gupta won the Clinton Global Citizen Award and in 2007 , she won the Abolitionist Award at the UK House of Lords. In 2008 and 2009, Gupta addressed the UN General Assembly on human trafficking. She won an Emmy in 1997 for her work on the documentary “The Selling of Innocents,” which inspired the creation of Apne Aap. Her work has been featured in 11 books including Half the Sky by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof.
It’s recently been announced that Gupta will be honored with the prestigious French award l’Ordre national du Mérite (Knight of the National Order of Merit), 2016, for her commitment to end sex trafficking. This year, she was also honored with an honorary degree from Smith College, the Doctorate in Humane Letters, 2016. In 2015, Ruchira was the NGO CSW Woman of the Year Distinction Awardee and delivered a key note address to a packed audience at the famous Apollo theatre in New York at NGO CSW/NY consultation day.
Prior to founding Apne Aap, Gupta worked in the United Nations in various capacities in 12 countries for over ten years. She is on the board of Coalition against Trafficking in Women and the advisory councils of the Polaris Project, Vital Voices, Ricky Martin Foundation, Asia Society, Nomi Network, The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women and Cents for Relief. In 2012 and 2013, she designed and taught courses on human trafficking for New York University’s School of Global Affairs.