Prajwala is an non-governmental organization in Hyderabad, India, opposed to forced prostitution and sex trafficking. It works to prevent a second generation of sex workers by educating brothel children for careers in carpentry, welding, printing and stationery work, wooden and steel furniture manufacturing, and hotels and hospitals housekeeping. It was founded by Dr Sunitha Krishnan. Mission The philosophy of Prajwala evolved based on the need of women and children who are victims of trafficking. Prajwala emerged as an anti-trafficking organization, which believes in preventing women and children from entering prostitution, which is the worst form of sexual slavery. The organization is actively involved in second-generation prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, restoration and social reintegration of victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation. These objectives are achieved through a multi-pronged approach, as trafficking is a multidimensional problem. During the process of implementation of programs to combat causes of trafficking Prajwala evolved need-based interventions and methodologies which are the milestones for the organization and breakthrough in the sector of anti-trafficking. “Even as a young girl of 16, I wanted to work for the cause of children and women. I was arrested for protesting against the 1995 Miss World contest held in Bangalore, and had to serve a two-month sentence. After being released, I decided to move out of Bangalore and settle down in Hyderabad,” 35-year-old Krishnan, co-founder and chief functionary of Prajwala, says. In 1996, sex workers living in Mehboob ki Mehandi, a red light area in Hyderabad, were evacuated. As a result, thousands of women, who were caught in the clutches of prostitution, were left homeless. Having found a like-minded person in Brother Jose Vetticatil, a missionary, Krishnan started a transition school at the vacated brothel to prevent the second generation from being trafficked. “We began in a small way by responding to the plight of the mothers. Things were not easy during the initial days. Although the women were concerned about their children, they were not ready for any kind of partnership. I made a calculated move to have a win-win situation. ‘You give me information about the destitute women trapped in prostitution, and I will provide education to your child’ was how I convinced the them, and it worked well,” she says. Today, Prajwala runs over 17 transition centres in Andhra Pradesh for the sex workers’ children. Over 5,000 children have benefited from the second generation prevention programme. The organisation, so far, has rescued more than 2,500 victims with the help of the information provided by its partners and through police intervention. The organisation has 80 members in India and 25 abroad. “Unlike many other organisations, Prajwala is not a project. It is a need-based organisation. I will close down Prajwala the day society stops treating women and children as objects of exploitation,” proclaims Krishnan. Rehabilitation To empower the rescued Prajwala trains them for careers in carpentry, welding, printing and stationery material, wooden and steel furniture manufacturing, and hotels and hospitals housekeeping in. “So far, we have provided rehabilitation to nearly 1,500 girls, but couldn't succeed in doing so in 1,000 other cases. I don't think I failed but probably I didn't get the desired results. For instance, we rescued a 20-year-girl from a Pune red light area and offered a Rs 6,000-per month salary package to her to work for us. She rejected the offer and went back. After 10 days, she called me and said she realised her mistake and was willing to work for the cause. Today, she is one of our main informers. Now, can this be called a failure,” Krishnan says. Founder Sunitha Krishnan has committed her life as a fulltime volunteer in Prajwala. A mental health professional, she has done extensive research and is essentially a field practitioner. She has been instrumental in rescuing hundreds of children from severely abusive conditions and restoring childhood to them. Sunitha Krishnan is making it possible for India's government and citizen organizations to manage jointly a range of protective and rehabilitative services for children who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. As of 2007, Prajwala operated 17 schools in Hyderabad as part of Krishnan's strategy to remove women from brothels by first giving their children opportunities outside the red-light districts. In addition to her local work, she has tried to increase pressure on foreign governments who, she says, fail to adequately enforce laws against sex-trafficking and sexual predation. For example, she says that although Americans comprise 25% of sex tourists in Asia, the US government does too little to prosecute them.