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Jan 6, 2020

Prajwala Updates

Many apologies for the long delay in our report. As GlobalGiving is having a temporary situation with Government of India for the disbursement of funds for the last few months, I was temporarily confused whether we should be submitting our reports or not.

I am humbled and honored that all of you have continued to support us through our preferred payment gateway partner GlobalGiving.

The last few months have been very hectic for the organization with over 20 foriegn victims mostly nationals from Bangladesh being repatriated back to their country. Any repatriation process is long and cumbersome and requires multiple engagement with different stakeholders. The first hurdle starts with the concerned court to get a repatriation order. Most of the courts are not very keen to pass a repatriation order as the probability of victim coming back to India to testify during the trail becomes a distant possibility. It is herculean task to ensure that most of the legal formality such as recording the 164 statement and identification of the accused is completed. Thereafter the organization gives an assurance in the court to bring back the victim as and when required during the trail.

Having secured the repatriation order, the next step is to convince the Bangladesh High Commission that the person belongs to their country. Validation of citizenship is another lenghty process with the HIgh Commission making an home enquiry and verifying with local officials. This process ends with the issue of a temporary travel permit.

Prajwala then goes to Foriegn Regional Registration Office(FRRO) with the repatriation order and the travel permit to apply for a exit permit. The FRRO after scrutinizing the documents will facilitate the exit of the person from the country.

The final phase is largely between the FRRO and immigration officials to facilitate the exit.

Prajwala as an organization does not hand over any victim/survivor directly to her parents instead ties up with a local NGO in Bangladesh for their continuum of care who thereafter hands over the victim to the family and also ensures there is adequate follow up.

In the last few months, we have been able to rescue 18 Bangladesh girls and 36 traffickers were arrested. In a first of its kind, traffickers from Bangladesh-Kolkata-Hyderabd were all arrested in a case of a minor girl who was trafficked with the use of social media.

The next few months will be a continuation of these cases and rescue of perhaps more minors from prostitution.   



Jun 3, 2019

Education as a therapeutic tool

It was a rainy day in the month of June 2017, when the childline got a call from a child. In whispers the child conveyed that she was staying in an orphange and the head of the organiation was sexually abusing her. As soon as childline alterted us about this, with the police we swung to action. To our utter horror, we found that the home was meant to be a place for HIV positive children.

When the recue was going on,we found frightened children all huddled together. They were all removed from that place and through the intervention of Child Welfare Committee the children were admitted to different homes based on their past experience. All the perpetrators were remanded to judicial custody.

Two sisters, aged 13yrs & 15yrs who admitted to being sexually assaulted were admitted to our therapeutic community.

The sense of shock and a state of numbness greeted us when we first met these two children.

For these two sisters, they never thought that they would ever escape this vicious trap of sexual exploitation. Orphaned due to AIDS, rejected by their family and community this home was their only choice for food, clothing, education and shelter. For three years they lived with the nightmare of daily sexual assault in the 'guise' of divine love and compassion. They knew it was a violation, but could not speak as they were dependent on this organization for their sustenence.

Being HIV positive further made their condition more helpless. Interacting with other children in the home they knew that they were not only ones who were going through this plight. It was only when a new child escaped from the home and alerted 'Childline' the matter came to light.

Repeated sexual assaults had cause acute Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in these children and a severe trust deficit. For more than 1year our care-givers struggled to restore some sense of trust in these children.

This was especially challenging as the head of the organization was arrested and the children were summoned to the court repeatedly for taking statements.As the case was moving on fast-track, the trail started within 9 months. Everytime the children saw anybody connected to that home in the court they had a relapse. They were not willing to be admitted in any formal school scared that they might be killed or harmed enroute.So both of them were admitted in the in-house learning center in the thereapeutic community.

After over 1year the children slowly started feeling more confident and consented to going to a formal government school. Education then became their safe heaven. Slowly they blossomed into two smart teenagers full of life and hope. Not even the monthly Anti Retroviral Drugs deterred them. 

This year they wrote together their X Standard Board Examination. I had met them a day before the exam and told them to put in their best efforts, for efforts are more important than the actual outcome of the exams. Seeing them through their daily nightmares for the last two years, I thought even if they can sit in the examination hall and write it will be good enough for us!

Two weeks back the results were announced. Imagine our thrill and happiness, not only these children passed but they passed with distinction, both scored 75% and 77% respectively.

Today when were preparing the individual care plan for both the children, the confidence on their faces humbles us. One aspires to become a social worker and the other a lawyer!!!

Thousands of children have passed through this therapeutic community...their scarred souls healed, their despair becoming a real hope and their identity becoming something they are proud to proclaim!

I wish I could share their pictures with the sense achievement they feel today...the law does not permit me to expose the beautiful faces of these extrordinary real heroes who triumph in the face worst possible adversity any human being can go through.  




Mar 5, 2019

Weddings of 6 survivors

A group wedding of six survivors of trafficking is planned for the 10th of March 2019.

These girls were victims of commercial sexual exploitation and were admitted to our therepeutic community through a court order. After providing a safe environment for them to heal and recover their dignity they were economically empowered with livelihood skills and employment opportunities. As per the provisions of the law the girls were released from the safe home as per a court order. The girls lived in group homes or independently. In due course they found a partner of their choice and came back to the organization seeking for support to solemnize their marriage.

In accordnace to our organizational protocol, antecendent check of the boys was done and verified. The families were invited to the Prajwala Base Camp to work out the details. After a lot of permutations and combinations 10th March was fixed for the D Day.

The entire Prajwala family has been delegated to organize the wedding and each team has been entrusted with tasks. The celebrations will begin on 8th March with bridal ceremony continued by a Sangeet on 9th March and the actual wedding on 10th March.

Prajwala wishes to thank all our supporters and collaborators who have made this possible for us.   

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