Rape Survivor Challenges India’s Sexual Violence Problem in New Augmented Reality Comic Book.


The epic comic book, PRIYA’S SHAKTI, creates a new Indian hero who tackles the problem of sexual violence in India and around the world, premiered at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention from December 19-21, 2014.

Inspired by ancient mythological tales, the comic book tells the story of Priya—a mortal woman and gang-rape survivor—and the Goddess Parvati as they fight against gender-based sexual violence in India and around the world supporting the movement against patriarchy, misogyny and indifference.

Creators Ram Devineni and Dan Goldman are presenting the innovative comic book that uses the popular augmented reality APP – Blippar – to make animation, videos, real-life stories, and other interactive elements pop-out of the pages. Additionally, several large colorful murals from the comic book are being painted on the walls throughout Mumbai. Audiences will be able to see special animation and movies pop out of the wall when they scan the murals on their smart phones. Priya’s Shakti is a recipient of a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grant supported by Ford Foundation.

Apne Aap Women Worldwide is the project’s engagement partner. Priya’s Shakti highlights the threat of sexual harassment and violence that women face on a daily basis unless deeply rooted patriarchal norms are challenged. Additionally, this project will help define the new frontier of integrating literary publications and exhibitions with augmented reality technology such as Blippar.

The comic book is free worldwide in every digital format and downloadable on the project’s website and at ComiXology and BitTorrent. Rattapallax, a literary publishing house and film production company based in New York City and New Delhi, is producing the entire project.

For more information, visit www.priyashakti.com

Please take a moment to listen to our voice messages on soundcloud below

Apne Aap Recognized at Lucy Liu’s Film Debut of MEENA

New York, NY


Credit: AKM-GSI

People Magazine Credit: AKM-GSI

On Thursday, June 26th, Apne Aap was invited to the debut of MEENA, the scripted directorial debut of Lucy Liu and The Sibs. MEENA is an adaptation of the brave and inspiring true story of Meena, a sex trafficking survivor and Apne Aap activist who through her courage and the amazing work of our staff was able to rescue her daughter from the same brothel she was sold to when she was 8 years old. To watch the film visit the official website. 

Watch Ruchira’s Interview with Deepak Chopra at the Film’s Screening.

Proceeds go directly to KEEP!


The Running Goddess 5k

On Sunday, June 1st The Running Goddess 5k will take place in Lasdon Park. A donation of the proceeds will be made to Apne Aap, so come out to Katonah, NY and run for a great cause! To learn more…




A Report on International Women’s day celebration

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, Delhi chapter of Apne aap women worldwide on 8th march took out a mass rally in Dharampura and PremNagar. The participants were the girls of the Perna, Sapera and Singhi community in Dharampura and of Perna community in PremNagar. The girls participated in the rally in full swing and shouted slogans like “Dahej pratha ki hahakaar, bandd karo yeh atyachaar”, “Agyanta ki diwaar todo, ladkiyon ko padao”,  “ladkiyon se hi toh sansaar hai, ladkiyan na ho toh sab bekaar hai toh Kyun hota hai ladkiyon ke saath atyachaar”  etc.  at the top of their voice.

Also, previous couple of days were dedicated to the workshop which was meant to make preparation for the event on 8th march and where the girls were seen creating the slogans for the rally, writing it on the chart papers and making placards all by themselves.

The rally attract a lot of attention of the general masses also as it started from the centre at Roshanpura and went all the route till the community in dharampura and returning back to the centre. Same was in the case of Premnagar where the rally was taken out in the community.

Post rally there was a discussion on the general issues people of the community have in Dharampura as many of them were not enrolled in any group of apneaap and most of them also wanted to learn applique and IGP activities running in the centre. Also, in PremNagar the discussion was held on the dropped out kids in the community so as to work on the learning component of ApneAapn in the community.

The rally along with the post rally discussion end with a three cheers to the womanhood and a refreshment.



Legal Aid Camp


Legal Aid Camp is one of the components of legal empowerment program framed for WIP, WAR, Vulnerable, victims and survivors of trafficking and violence so that they can secure their rights and entitlements as guaranteed in our constitution as well as other provisions of law.


Access to relevant, accurate legal information and anti-trafficking laws from the senior legal personnel and from the members of National University of Juridical Sciences Legal Aid Society, Law student of Calcutta University and from the members of Apne App Kolkata office.


3rd March, 2014, 12:00-4:30 pm


12, Munshigunj Road, Kidderpore, Kolkata


119 Women and girls from Munshigunj and Topsia area along with Apne Aap staffs and NUJS LAS were present on that camp.

Activity performed

 Legal Awareness

The legal awareness is one of the important tools to empower any marginalized community through dissemination of information and creation & sharing of knowledge among community members and vulnerable groups. It will create awareness among people particularly who were forced into prostitution and for the women and girls who is under risk to be trafficked and the community people who were forcefully evicted from their residence by the government agencies violating all kind of basic human rights. It includes rights in its entire dimension like Civil and Political Rights, Economic Social Cultural Rights.

Mr. Sk. Fazul-E-Khoda Bin Mustapha, P.O. Legal started the session with the introduction of resource persons. After that Members of NUJS Legal Aid Society addressed the meeting. They told community women and girls on different laws and provisions of laws Iike Immoral Traffic(Prevention) Act-1956, New Criminal Law Amendment Act-2013, Protection of women from domestic violence act- 2005, Property rights of women, specially Hindu Succession Act- 1956 AND Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act 1937.

Taj Mohammad discussed on recent problems of community people to lodge any complaint before police and detailed procedure on it. Then he told about child marriage and its legal provisions, property rights of Muslim women as per Muslim Personal law, and their rights on divorce and its origin. He also told on right to education act and its present practice. He also told that prostituted women were the victim of circumstances. They came in prostitution to sustain their live when all other options were closed before her. The women in this business were deprived of many things in life like education and information of world beyond them. It is our duty to act jointly to end trafficking and violence against women.

Debjani Biswas told about empowering women through education and knowledge and apply that knowledge to their personal life and resist any kind of violence against women by taking strong action.

Sahana Dsgupta told about approach of apne aap to end trafficking and empowering women through knowledge including legal knowledge

It was told that the women had left their house so they needed to lean some clause of law that –

  1. No accused women could be arrested after sunset and before sunrise by the police.
  2. Woman police can arrest accused woman under Magistrate’s Order and she need to be produced to court within 24 hours of time span.
  3. Constitution of India said all were equal before law. But under special circumstances women & children were treated with special rights.
  4. It was also told that under any circumstances right to life and right to freedom couldn’t be violated under law.
  5. Women and children under 15 yrs of age couldn’t be interrogated at Police Station.
  6. Physical relation is a part of life and it’s a human practice to sustain life. But making physical relation forcefully might be referred as rape. Early constitution said the burden of proving rape lied with victim. It was told that rape as one of the heinous crime and  if any person wants to make physical relation against the woman’s consent then that would be treated as rape. But after many debate the law was amended and now the burden of proving rape lied with accused and he had prove his innocence. He had to go through all type of medical examination under provision of law. He couldn’t deny for any sorts of investigation like blood test, DNA and other laboratory or pathological tests. The amended law had relieved the victim. But the case of wife would be treated as separately.
  7. If a woman died within seven years of marriage then her family-in-laws had to prove that she hadn’t died of dowry cause.
  8. Prostitution is not illegal per se in India But if the nearby community neighbors objected of prostituted activity in the locality then government could take action accordingly. No red light area could be sustained within 200 meter of any school, college and temple.
  9. Marriage and divorced law for Hindu & Muslim were discussed. Hindu law could be amended unlike to Muslim Law as the later was framed under the direction of Hazrat Md.
  10. Hindu law said that husband had to feed his wife irrespective of all situations. Wife could demand compensation in case of divorce. But if wife had proper income unlike to her husband then no compensation could be granted under law.
  11. The property act of India said wife had been entitled with right to husband’s property. Then parents of that person had the right to his property.
  12. Lok adalat could be approached for solving small issues. The retired judges were appointed in Lok Adalat for solving petty cases. Government bore the burden of expenses for implementing law and order in the country.
  13. It was also told that every mother should admit their children to school and it is their fundamental rights to get free and compulsory education under Article 21A of our constitution and new RTE Act. They came to know government and police couldn’t evict them without providing any alternative support, though they were from red light community. This was possible because they had human rights

Some feedback from the participants:-

Ayesha Begum from Munshigunge asked about free and compulsory education and why her 4years grand son was not provided free education by government schools.Moriyam Bewa from Topsia submitted her question with relevant documents and asked about government policy to issue voter card and BPL card and why government issuing those card to all evicted people of Topsia.

Noorbanu Bibi asked about the procedure to enlist her name in RSBY list to get free medical treatment



Brand Creation: Products that Support Survivors of Sex-trafficking

Apne Aap Women Worldwide

Invites you to a discussion on

Brand Creation: Products that Support Survivors of Sex-trafficking

with feminist activists,

Nina Smith,  Executive Director GoodWeave

Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti trafficking activist

moderated by Mayank Mansingh Kaul

chaired by Ruchira Gupta, Founder-President of Apne Aap Women Worldwide

11 a.m. on Tuesday, 25th February, 2014 at Apne Aap Women Worldwide


Press Release

Products that support survivors of sex-trafficking: Apne Aap organizes a talk about livelihoods and Income Generation Program

New Delhi, 25th February, 2014:- Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a registered charitable trust in India committed to work towards the empowerment of girls and women today organized a session titled ‘Brand Creation- Products that support survivors of sex-trafficking tomorrow’ with Nina Smith,  Executive Director GoodWeave, Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti trafficking activist and Mayank Mansingh Kaul, textile designer, talking about suitable alternative livelihoods to marginalized women, at the Apne Aap office. The discussion revolved around the efforts required to provide vocational training and formation of self help groups to achieve a better quality of life.

Young girls and women from Apne Aap’s Self Empowerment Groups from Dharampura, Najafgarh, Kolkata and Bihar resource centres have been making diyas, candles, jute wallets, wall hangings, folders and similar handmade products. These young girls and women are in the process of empowering themselves through education, awareness of their legal rights and social entitlements and development of livelihood skills.

With the initiation of this new programme for sustainable livelihood enhancements, Apne Aap’s endeavor is to improve access to financial services’ by facilitating capacity building. It operates through Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and focuses on organising women into such groups, while enhancing their access to finance.

Participating in the discussion Ruchira Gupta, Founder President Apne Aap Women Worldwide said, “Many women and girls, who are victims and survivors of prostitution, have joined the movement of Apne Aap in search of livelihood options, by making products and crafts that can be sold to open markets. Some of these women who have been brutalized and traumatised for such long periods, don’t know how to make any products so the question is how do we build a movement around this and how do we sustain the changes we introduce in their lives? Also changing the condition on the ground is not easy as raising awareness about a brand that has social awareness takes time. The idea is to have conscious consumerism;  having a really great product helps but the key is to have something wonderful which will make people want to buy it and then create the brand.”  

Nina Smith, Executive Director, GoodWeave asserted, “The important part of branding is that products with a brand vehicle for raising awareness about sex-trafficking”. Seconding the idea Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti-trafficking activist added, “ The focus should be on economic placement of women in a market, creating skills that help them to stay in the market for the time is how we should be looking at the next steps”.

Moderating the discussion, Mayank Mansingh Kaul added, “The idea to see how design can be applied to a given situation and help in finding solutions. It is very important to have an idea as a design for change through which we can spread awareness about the cause and provoke thinking in the minds of people. With the help of graphics, photos, designs we can create a movement and help Apne Aap create awareness about their cause”.

The session concluded with the audience discussing various measures in which design for change can be implemented at grassroot level.

About Nina Smith,  Executive Director GoodWeave

Nina Smith is the founding executive director of GoodWeave, and has helped to build and lead GoodWeave International operations. She is a tireless advocate for children’s rights and an expert on addressing labor rights violations in manufacturing supply chains. Ms. Smith has presented internationally as well as nationally on these issues at events organized by Harvard University, the American Bar Association: Rule of Law Initiative and Stanford Graduate School of Business, among others. Ms. Smith is a winner of the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, acknowledging her work to employ market strategies for social change. In 2012, she received The Center for Nonprofit Advancement’s EXCEL Award for excellence in chief executive leadership, which carries with it a monetary award for continuing leadership development.

A fair trade advocate and expert for two decades, Ms. Smith was formerly the executive director of The Crafts Center, a nonprofit organization providing marketing and technical assistance to indigenous artisans around the world. As president of the Fair Trade Federation (FTF) from 1996 to 1998, she launched FTF’s first consumer awareness campaign. She also

was a crafts export consultant to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in Dharamsala, India, where she oversaw the development of new market-driven product lines, quality control mechanisms, and artisan training programs. Ms. Smith has served various boards including the FTF and The Tibet Collection. She is a graduate of Tufts University, and is a practitioner affiliate of the Social Enterprise Graduate Degree program at American University. She lives in Maryland with her husband and seven-year-old son.

About Dr Jean Baderschneider, leading human rights and anti trafficking activist

Dr. Jean Baderschneider serves as the Chair of the National Leadership Council of The Polaris Project and is leading a global anti-human trafficking strategy (Vision 2020). Since May 1, 2013, she is also President of End Human Trafficking Now (EHTN), a Geneva, Switzerland based organization focused on engaging the business community in the fight against human trafficking.

Dr. Baderschneider retired from ExxonMobil in February 2013 where she was Vice-President, Global Procurement. She was responsible for all procurement, strategic sourcing, supply chain management, logistics, warehousing and accounts payables worldwide. Over the years, Dr. Baderschneider has traveled and worked extensively all over the world, particularly in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia. Dr. Baderschneider is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Supply Management and the Executive Board of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).  She was appointed to the Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council of Minority Business Enterprises in February 2011.  She is a past board member of The Center of Advanced Purchasing Studies (CAPS) and the Procurement Council of both The Conference Board and the Corporate Executive Board.

Dr. Baderschneider is a member of the Advisory Council for the President Lincoln’s Cottage, a Historic Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  In addition, she is on the Board of Trustees of the Maret School in Washington, D.C.  She is a member of the Advisory Council of the ILR School at Cornell University and a long time member of Cornell’s President’s Council of Cornell Women. Dr. Baderschneider has a Masters degree from University of Michigan and a Ph.D. from Cornell University.

About Mayank Mansingh Kaul

Mayank is a Delhi-based textile-fashion designer working with contemporary hand-crafts, and is simultaneously involved with policy matters related to the development of creative and cultural industries in India.  He is the Founding-Director of The Project India, a not-for-profit organisation looking at archiving projects related to Indian design. A design curator, he curated The Idea of Fashion, a residency and show bringing Fashion designers and artists together, at the Khoj International Artists Residency in Delhi (2011); was on the curatorial team of the Second Edition of The United Art Fair (Sept 2013); and is curator of Fracture – a show on contemporary textiles at the Devi Art Foundation (Upcoming, 2014). As a design writer, he writes for leading Indian and International magazines, and is Issue Editor of Take on Art Design (2012) and an upcoming Indo-French publication on contemporary Indian design (2014).

Feminism Beyond Boundaries: Apne Aap’s Director, Dr Abhilasha Kumari in conversation with Artist, Leena Kejriwal

Oxford Bookstore,  Delhi, 11th Feb 2014:
The UN Development Programme (2010) claims that Asia is missing approximately 96 million women, as a result of death through practices such as neglect, sex selective abortion and domestic violence. India’s Census (2011) reveals that only 914 girls were born for every 1,000 boys, which shows that a huge proportion of these missing Indian women were not just killed, but never born at all.

Leena Kejriwal, a Kolkata based photographer and artist, considers this to be a devastating social truth and has forced her art and audience to address this issue. Kejriwal has been working alongside NGOs that combat trafficking and prostitution for some time, but it was her latest piece M.I.S.S.I.N.G… which launched at the India Art Fair 2014 which provoked countless international discussions and media attention onto this stigmatised topic.

‘It should be there for everyone to see it, even if they don’t want to’ Kejriwal insisted to the audience  and Dr Kumari as she described the idea behind her latest outdoor installation. M.I.S.S.I.NG…, uses black steel to portray  an inescapable and mesmerising silhouette of a girl against the backdrop of the sky. Kejriwal’s ‘public art’ is an enormous political statement. By taking her art out of the confines of a gallery space, Kejriwal jolts the collective consciousness of India and beyond, and urges everyone to realise the extent to which these girls are disappearing.

Dr Kumari talked with Kejriwal about the anonymity of these figures, maintaining that the indistinguishable nature of these silhouettes  reminds us of the lack of support and protection the women and girls who are trapped in trafficking and prostitution receive. ‘They are invisible citizens, without identification cards, without any kind of legal documentation’.

Kejriwal’s installation reveals the powerful way in which art can be used as a medium to express anti-trafficking messages on a global scale, which is something that Apne Aap wholeheartedly supports in their effort to reach and save the most marginalised, last girl.



Field realities from denotified tribes: Apne Aap organizes a talk about the exclusion, deprivation and state of discrimination of the tribes

Swati and RuchiraNew Delhi, 10th February, 2014:- Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a registered charitable trust in India committed to work towards the empowerment of girls and women today organized its seventh session of ‘Terrace Talks’ at their head-office at India International Centre, New Delhi. The talk was chaired by Swati Chakraborty, Head-Monitoring & Evaluation at Apne Aap Women Worldwide. The discussion revolved around ‘Field realities from denotified tribes’.

The ongoing study on the educational status of de-notified Tribes by Apne Aap Women Worldwide in the states of Delhi, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal clearly shows that these communities are still treated as outsiders by society and discriminated and victimized by authorities. Suspicion and traditional stereotyping (as criminal) is still a standard yardstick with which these communities are looked at. This is due to both conventional belief as well as ignorance about them among the authorities as well as the general public.

The session further delved around the findings of the study, where Swati and the team found  that young girls were seen as a financial resource and often  kept as security with brothel owners for a specified time period against a specified amount in case of familial dispute.  It threw light on the incidents when poor families have been forced to use their daughters more than once. There are endless stories of extreme exploitation of young girls and women .One member of Kanjar communities told the study team: doh hi chiz to bikte hain. ek hain aurat r ek hain zameen. hum logo ke paas to zameen hain nehi—toh aurat hi bech te hain.Aur keya kar sakte hain. (Two things can be sold—one is women and other island. We do not have land so we sell our woman. What else we can do).

Participating in the discussion Abhilasha Kumari, Director Apne Aap Women Worldwide said, “Many of these denotified tribes practice inter-generational prostitution which is the extreme form of exploitation of young girls. Being an anti trafficking grassroots organization, Apne Aap came into the picture largely because we wanted to create an impact about this practice. We consider that every child that is put into prostitution is trafficked. We realized most of the people didn’t know about denotified tribes so we took the help from ICSSR. ICSSR has supported this research and provided us with authentic information and evidence. These findings will help us to develop, strategies and policy formulation for the development of these communities”.

Elucidating on the denotified tribes study , Swati Chakraborty highlighted how across the states, despite being extremely poor and low on all human resources indices,  this study found that de-notified communities are not entitled to the various government schemes meant for the poor and backward communities. There is abject poverty among them across states. Police find it convenient to hold these communities responsible for any crimes both in rural and urban areas. Speaking at the session, she said It is very easy to show  through statistics  how many children are not attending school, but the reason why they are not going or what  are the factors that are pushing them away can  only be known by having a field experience and by conducting studies of this kind”.

The session concluded with the audience discussing various measures to implement the much needed reforms towards the cause of these tribes.