Better World Initiative has financially supported a person who works full-time to reduce and prevent trafficking and forced prostitution in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. He supports local projects that help a range of vulnerable people who have been prostituted or who are at risk of prostitution – including street children; children being raised up in red-light areas; children & women from poor communities; widows; and Hijras (transgendered women). The activities these projects run include:
Rescue, Rehabilitation & Repatriation: Setting up community-based Rehabilitation Homes for victims of prostitution, to provide support for women and children who have left the trade (these Rehabilitation Homes fill up very quickly). Helping women and children return to their families and villages after they leave prostitution. This is not easy – many have been trafficked from remote, isolated villages; or across state borders (to India from Nepal or Bangladesh). Encouraging businesses in India to support & employ women who have left prostitution. Establishing projects along the Bangladesh border that will provide employment and health resources for Bangladeshi women who have left brothels in India and returned home. Establishing clinics along the Bangladesh border that will provide health resources for women in prostitution (this is a particularly important area to target because many women are trafficked into prostitution along the Bangladesh border, and many of those who have been trafficked there are now HIV positive).
Supporting vulnerable & marginalised groups:
- Children – children being raised in the red-light districts; and street children (many street children live in train stations, and are extremely vulnerable to being drugged, plied with alcohol, and sexually abused).
- Hijras – Hijras (transgendered women) are a poor and vulnerable group in India.
- Widows – vocational training & support is provided for them (widows are traditionally a very poor and marginalised group).
- People in prison – help and support is provided to women and children who are incarcerated.
- Minority religions – supporting all victimised women and children regardless of their religious background (Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Sikh etc). Providing support for people of minority religions (such as Muslim women in a Hindu dominant area).
Working with other organisations: The co-coordinator that is supported by the trust works with many teams and not-for-profit projects throughout India, including the following:
- Freeset (a Kolkata based organisation that runs a handicrafts center to help women leave their former work of prostitution). Providing the organisation with teaching materials, and working with them to set up effective systems and processes. (Freeset was established in 2001 by New Zealanders Kerry and Annie Hilton).
- Freedom Firm (an organisation dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitate of girls enslaved in prostitution) in Mumbai and Ooty.
- Project Rescue (an organisation that rescues and rehabilitates girls trapped in prostitution) in Varanasi – rescuing, rehabilitating, and repatriating Nepali girls who had been trafficked through Varanasi.
Where the projects are located: The co-coordinator supports anti-trafficking & rehabilitation projects that located all over India as well as in Bangladesh & Nepal. Travel to some of these places (particularly to distant parts of North India and North East India) is difficult and expensive. In India, projects are being run in the following places:
- Kolkata (where there are five main areas of prostitution)
- Varanasi (a transit place for Nepali girls who are being trafficked)
- Ooty (where Devadasi girls are rescued & rehabiliated: Devadasi is a religious tradition in which pubescent girls are “married” and dedicated to a deity)
- North & North East India