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Apne Aap Women’s Collective

Provide services to women and girls in the red-light areas of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai.

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Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) is an anti-human trafficking organization established in 1998 that serves women engaged in brothel-based prostitution and their daughters in Falkland Road, Kamathipura, and Turbhe, the red-light areas of Mumbai. Their vision is to provide the tools and resources for empowerment to trafficked women in prostitution and their daughters in Mumbai’s Red-Light District in order to prevent the cycle of intergenerational prostitution.

Outreach plays an important role as it is the primary point of contact between the organization and its existing and potential members. The outreach team makes daily visits to the brothels and red-light areas to conduct check-ins and maintain necessary amicable ties, enabling the organization to conduct the programs mentioned below and provide an array of services to the beneficiaries.

AAWC Programs:

  1. Umeed for Women in brothel-based prostitution

The objectives of the Umeed Program are to help women who have been trafficked into prostitution with their physical, mental, and economic well-being. Umeed for Women is a constant empowerment program that aims for the holistic and overall development of the beneficiaries. The program includes outreach, where the outreach team helps identify potential beneficiaries, conducts field visits, and provides aid in obtaining identity documents such as Voter Card, Ration Card, PAN Card, and Aadhar card, which enable them to access government benefits and schemes. Other services provided include financial literacy, vocational training for empowerment, adult literacy education, mental and physical health support such as medical referrals, monthly check-ups, health camps, nutrition, counseling, recreation, and placement in shelter homes. Since these women enter prostitution at a very young age and lack education and skills, such an empowerment process becomes imperative.

These processes have had a positive impact on the women beneficiaries. Since the inception of the program, there has been a significant increase in the enrollment of women beneficiaries in the adult literacy program. The organization has also successfully provided job skill training to the beneficiaries, leading to many beneficiaries quitting their profession and finding job placements in reputed factories and centers.

AAWC has been able to serve more than 3,200 direct and indirect beneficiaries through its Umeed program, and has made the following achievements:

  • 50 women beneficiaries were able to quit their jobs in the year 2022, breaking free from societal stigma and their socio-economic background.
  • Nutrition support provided to 900+ women beneficiaries in the year 2022.
  • Increased enrollment in adult literacy classes.
  1. Udaan for their daughters (2.5-18 years)

While serving the women engaged in brothel-based prostitution, AAWC realized that their daughters were at a greater risk of entering the cycle of inter-generational prostitution due to their close proximity to the sex trade. They were normalized to the idea of becoming prostitutes, lacked positive role models, and had no alternative aspirations for the future. Hence, the Udaan program for the daughters of these women aims to provide various services to these young girls, utilizing education as the main tool to break this inter-generational cycle of prostitution. They equip the girls to pursue aspirational professions and enable genuine socioeconomic mobility, exposing them to various professions. The services provided to the girls include formal and informal education, such as kindergarten enrollment in government and private schools, after-school tuition, mentor-mentee programs, exposure visits, vocational education classes, educational workshops, and career guidance-oriented exposure visits. They also address their health needs, providing regular checkups, medical referrals, quarterly medical camps, daily nutritious meals and multivitamin supplements, counseling, art therapies, involvement in extracurricular activities such as dance, drama, and music, recreational activities, and shelter home services. Additionally, they offer various job skill training programs and job placements to the beneficiaries, promoting their economic independence and helping them move away from red-light areas after completing their education. The services provided to the Udaan girl beneficiaries have a positive impact on their overall development, making them self-reliant, and also helping them pull their mothers away from the profession. AAWC has achieved a 100% success rate in curtailing the intergenerational cycle of prostitution in the last ten years.

AAWC has been able to serve more than 800 direct and indirect beneficiaries through its Udaan program, and has made the following achievements:

  • 100% success rate in academic promotions of the Udaan girl beneficiaries
  • Three beneficiaries passed the 10th examination with 73%, 75%, and 83% in the academic year 2022 and are now pursuing further education in reputed colleges.
  • One beneficiary is pursuing BFA in applied arts at a reputed college in Mumbai.
  • One beneficiary scored 90% in the FYJC examination.
  • 100% success in overcoming malnutrition among enrolled beneficiaries
  • A steady decline in the number of medical referrals being conducted.
  • Good cognitive and motor skill development among beneficiaries.
  • Increase in the happiness index of young beneficiaries, leading to overall development.
  • Successful in providing a conducive environment for education, leading to preparedness for formal schooling.

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