Empower People began in 1999 as an educational initiative called Career Development Corner (CDC). In 2006 the organization became EMPOWER PEOPLE with its mission singularly focused on rescue and empowerment of girls and women who had been sold as brides. The young women were brought to Haryana-Punjab as sex slaves, where they are called “Paro” or “Molki”. In addition to being sexually abused, these women are used as farm workers and resold to other men. Empower People works to protect, support and organize trafficked women and girls from the vicious cycle of trafficking using a three-pronged strategy of prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation. EP equips the women with skills to earn a livelihood by other means -- for example by sewing, as shown in the photos.
The National Crime Record Bureau reports that more than 22,000 girls were kidnapped for marriage in 2012, with organized trafficking rackets operating in several North Indian states. To end bride trafficking, Empower People actively engages religious/ethnic leaders, community members, and other stakeholders.
Read more about Empower People and founder Shafiqur R. Khan in The Guardian.
Rahab’s Rope, a Christian organization, works with young ladies in Goa, India who are at high risk for sex slavery. Rahab’s Rope provides them with education and skills so that they can make other choices. Rahab’s Rope also equips each woman to reach out to her community and create a current of positive change. In Bangalore and Mumbai, Rahab’s Rope is developing projects for women already in the commercial sex trade.
Jan Sahas Social Development Society empowers socially excluded and deprived Dalit, Tribal and other communities, particularly women and children, by protecting their rights, building their capacities, and providing access to justice, decent livelihoods, education, food and nutrition security. The organization has worked particularly hard to liberate dalit women from a livelihood called manual scavenging. According to tradition, certain dalit women, due to their low status, are required to clean human excrement from dry, outdoor latrines in wealthier households. They are not permitted to do other types of work. Jan Sahas has liberated women from this degrading work, provided them with new skills to earn a living, and recruited them as activists to liberate others still trapped in this work. The Society has received grants from numerous foundations, including the Ford Foundation. In March 2015, Jan Sahas Social Development Society won the prestigious Times of India Social Impact Award. For more information see this article from Inter Press Service News Agency.
Privately organized cooperative in Bhathinda, Punjab, India