Supply Side: The “Organizing for Independence” Concept


We empower women and girls with the tools and choices to get out or stay out of prostitution by bringing together small groups of collective empowerment, called Mandals.

Representatives of Apne Aap go into red light districts and approach women and girls who are affected by prostitution. We invite them to join a discussion about improving their lives and inform them of their Four Essential Rights — The Right to Legal Protection, The Right To Education, The Right to Sustainable and Dignified Livelihood, and The Right To Safe Housing — which have usually been denied them.

When they join Apne Aap, the women become part of a group that meets regularly at our community centers—safe spaces for education, discussion, and training. With the support of Apne Aap representatives, they work collectively to gain ten key Assets found to be vital factors in their ability to gain independence.

Each Asset is a vital factor in a woman’s ability to reduce her dependency on the brothel system and increase her security or prevent her own trafficking and that of her children. The ten key Assets are:

  1. Access to a safe space for self and children
  2. Access to nine friends for collective empowerment
  3. Access to a education for self and children
  4. Ability to express one’s problem to society and the media
  5. Courage and skills to express one’s problem to the government and legal authorities
  6. Knowledge and courage for political participation
  7. Access to savings and loans in groups and banks
  8. Capacity for a dignified livelihood
  9. Legal empowerment
  10. Access to government programs and services.

Members keep track of their progress on an Asset Card, updated at each meeting, and through the support of the other members of the group. We also provide direct access to several Assets through the Apne Aap community centers, where women can receive help filing forms and opening bank accounts. We also provide legal counsel, and share access and information about available private and public services.

While the women work towards independence on the individual level, they also build Assets for their community through advocacy. We help Mandals identify government policies that they would like to see changed and escort them as a group to relevant officials to campaign for their rights. This grassroots activism empowers the women to improve their own lives while also helping to shrink the sex trade directly in their community, and support their children and peers.

Who We Mobilize

Victims and Survivors

Prostituted women and girls and those who have survived prostitution.

At Risk

Girls and women who are on the brink of being trafficked and prostituted because they are:

  1. Daughters and sisters of prostituted women.
  2. Living in the red-light district and neighboring areas.
  3. in castes, communities and/or tribes suffering from inter-generational prostitution.
Vulnerable to Human Trafficking and Prostitution

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and prostitution when they are subject to at least six of these vulnerabilities:

  1. Member of the marginalized caste communities
  2. Living below the poverty line
  3. Suffering from domestic violence or incest
  4. Trapped in an early marriage
  5. Bonded labour worker
  6. Living in domestic servitude
  7. Displaced due to natural disaster, conflict or big development projects
  8. Physically disabled
  9. Immigrated from another country
  10. Illiterate and/or have never attended school
  11. Homeless