The Hope and Human Rights
APNE AAP WOMEN WORLDWIDE’s vision is a world where every woman and girl can realize her full potential. Their mission is to end sex trafficking and to increase choices for at-risk girls and women in order to ensure access to their rights, and to deter the purchase of sex through policy and social change.
Ruchira Gupta reached international prominence with her Emmy award-winning documentary, The Selling of Innocents, which follows the flesh trade from its source in Katmandu to the sex factories of Bombay. Gupta is the Artists for Human Rights Ruchira Gupta APNE founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which has freed over 15,000 women and girls, giving a voice to those trapped in inter-generational prostitution and moving them into self-empowerment groups and training centers.
Beginning as a journalist for the BBC, and then working at the United Nations in various capacities in 12 countries for over ten years, she strove to highlight the link between human trafficking and prostitution laws, lobbying policymakers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators. Gupta won the Abolitionist Award by the UK House of Lords and addressed the UN General Assembly on human trafficking. She is on the board of the Coalition against Trafficking in Women and the advisory councils of the Polaris Project, Vital Voices, Ricky Martin Foundation, Asia Society, Nomi Network to name a few. In 2009 she won the Clinton Global Citizen Award for Commitment to Leadership in Civil Society by the Clinton Foundation.
What angered me further was the attitude of friends, politicians, police officers, that if these women were not prostituted, women from good families would be raped, that 'men would be men'. War, hunger and ethnic conflict were considered evil, but the daily commercial rape happening in brothels was normalized, justified and even romanticized.
- Ruchira Gupta
River of Flesh BOOK
‘River of Flesh and Other Stories’ brings together twenty-one stories about trafficked and prostituted women by some of India’s most celebrated writers-Amrita Pritam, Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, Indira Goswami, Ismat Chughtai, J. P. Das, Kamala Das, Kamleshwar, Krishan Chander, Munshi Premchand, Nabendu Ghosh, Qurratulain Hyder, Saadat Hasan Manto and Siddique Alam, among others.
Jugnu, in Kamleshwar’s ‘River of Flesh’ (‘Maas ka Darya’)-stares at a lifetime of servitude as age and disease take hold; Ismat Chughtai creates the unforgettable character of Lajo in ‘The Housewife’, a carefree young woman who must conform to society’s idea of decency, or risk being branded a whore; in ‘Heeng-Kochuri’, by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, a boy growing up near a red-light area discovers the adult world of patrons, connoisseurs and customers-as well as savouries offered to young boys as bribe; and in Manisha Kulshrestha’s ‘Kalindi’, a son looks in through a window and his life falls to pieces around him. An unprecedented anthology-for its subject, as well as for the range of authors and translators who are part of it-‘River of Flesh and Other Stories’ offers a harsh indictment of this practice of human slavery, too often justified-and occasionally glorified-as the ‘world’s oldest profession’.
Apne Aap women worldwide’s vision is a world where every woman and girl can realize her full potential. Their mission is to end sex trafficking and to increase choices for at-risk girls and women in order to ensure access to their rights, and to deter the purchase of sex through policy and social change.e