About Us

Photo: Bernard Henin

Apne Aap Women Worldwide (India)

Apne Aap Women Worldwide is a registered charitable trust in India. A grassroots Indian organization, we work to empower girls and women to resist and end sex trafficking by organizing marginalized women and girls into small self-empowerment groups, where they work collectively to access their legal, social, economic, and political rights. Founded by twenty-two courageous women in prostitution, who had a vision for a world where no woman could be bought or sold, Apne Aap Women Worldwide is determined to make their vision a reality.

Apne Aap International (US)

Apne Aap is a registered 501(c)(3) charity in the United States. Based in New York, Apne Aap’s international office fundraises to support its grassroots work in India. It also partners with other organizations, including the NoVo Foundation, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, and Equality Now, to demand an end to sex trafficking.

What We Do

Apne Aap helps marginalized women and girls work collectively to lift themselves out of the sex industry as well as to advocate for policy change to stem the demand for purchased sex. Read more about our Approach.

Since 2002, we have formed 150 self-empowerment groups in brothels, red light districts, slums, and villages. Through this work, we have created and proven a community-centered solution to end sex trafficking; we have helped to transform the most marginalized girls and women into leaders who can change their own fates and those of their peers.

On the policy side, we successfully lobbied for the United Nation’s anti-trafficking fund for survivors. Established in 2001, the fund disburses grants to organizations working at the forefront of providing services to trafficking victims. Representatives from Apne Aap have also made speeches to the South African and Icelandic parliament, urging them to change how their laws address the demand for trafficking. Today, both countries have changed their policies so that they punish buyers instead of trafficked women.

By 2016, we plan to scale our model to link 500,000 women to a nation–wide support network and to empower 100,000 girls with the access to educational opportunities.

What We Believe

Apne Aap stands for a Third Way of dealing with sex trafficking and prostitution. We want girls and women trapped in prostitution to be decriminalized, which means they should not be punished by the law for being in prostitution or having to conduct any ancillary activities connected to prostitution like soliciting. We believe that, for most women, prostitution is a survival strategy at best and bonded labor and slavery at worst. Most women and girls are forced into prostitution by circumstances or actual physical brutality. Prostitution is not a choice but results from the absence of choice since most women who are forced into prostitution come from marginalized castes, classes, races, religions, and ethnicities.

We want those who profit from women’s abuse and take advantage of their vulnerabilities, which may be the consequence of factors ranging from poverty to gender, to be held accountable and punished severely. These include recruiters, transporters, agents, middlemen, pimps, brothel owners, brothel managers, financiers, moneylenders, landlords, and other traders. We also want those who buy sex to be penalized and punished depending on the nature and extent of their crime.

Apne Aap strives to increase choices and decreased vulnerability for women and girls. We want budgets to be allocated by the government and the private sector to invest in the education, housing, livelihoods, and access to justice for marginalized girls and women to increase their choices and make them less vulnerable to the pressure of traffickers.