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 Women Worldwide is an Indian grassroots organization working against sex-trafficking. It has supported more than 20,000 prostituted and at-risk girls, women and their family members since its foundation in 2002, by journalist, Ruchira Gupta and 22 women in prostitution.
It enrolls children of prostituted women into school, and helps women exit prostitution by getting government IDs, accessing welfare like food, housing and health care and filing cases against traffickers. It advocates for better laws and, policies on behalf of the Last Girl, she is the 13-year-old in a brothel or the 19-year old on a street corner. Its main work in India is in the red-light districts of Sonagachchi and Munshiganj in West Bengal and among nomadic groups labelled as criminal tribes under British colonialism in Delhi and Bihar. It has consultative status with the United Nations (UN).
Its sister organization, Apne Aap USA, supports the work of Apne Aap in India, mentors US-based survivors of prostitution, builds university partnerships, trains students on anti-human trafficking work and supports the development of victim-centric policies at the United Nation, among other governments and among international partners.
Apne Aap was formed with the dream of a world in which no girl or woman would be bought or sold. It means self-action in Hindi.
Our mission is to end sex-trafficking by increasing choices for girls and women and to deter the purchase of sex.
We are inspired by the twin Gandhian principles of :
Ahimsa (non-violence) - Resisting violence to the self and to the other.
Antodaya (upliftment of the last woman/girl) - Antodaya's last person is the prostituted girl or woman.
Our approach is to help every Last Girl regain control of her destiny. The Last Girl is the most vulnerable of human beings because not only is she a poor, female teenager but from a marginalized caste or religion in India, Black or Native American in the US, a refugee in Europe, an ethnic minority in Africa or a caravan migrant or climate victim in Latin America. Additionally, she may be the daughter or sister of a prostituted woman or a victim of child marriage or domestic servitude. She is preyed on by traffickers because she is hungry, homeless, unprotected and un-educated.
Apne Aap works to help at-risk and prostituted women through its Asset-Based Community Development Model. Staff members enroll women into the Apne Aap program and over a period of three to five years help them gain 10 Assets.
The 10 Assets are:
1. safe space
4. political knowledge
5. government IDs
6. government welfare ( housing, food & health care)
7. legal support
8. bank accounts and loans
10. friendship circles ( Mahila and Kishori Mandalas)
The Assets reduce vulnerability and therefore risk to being trafficked or create an exit strategy from prostitution by reducing dependency on the brothel system. Once a girl gains all Ten Assets, she influences and enrolls other girls to gain the ten assets. We call this the 10 X 10 approach.
20 % of our work is to create exit strategies for girls and women who are victims of prostitution and 80 % of our work strives to prevent inter-generational prostitution among the daughters of women in prostitution, as well as the girls and young women trapped in caste communities suffering from inter-generational prostitution (Many of these castes were formerly nomadic groups labeled as Criminal Tribes by the British). This is traditionally known as prevention, protection, rehabilitation and reintegration.