Beyond Money
Breaking the shackles… to help create a new dawn
Forced prostitution is a ghastly form of human trafficking that affects thousands of young girls. Aditi Roy writes about an effort to rescue them and give them a new life

Forced prostitution, the ghastliest form of human trafficking is rampant in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. Unsuspecting young girls are trafficked to big cities like Mumbai. 
Rescue Foundation, located at Kandivali, a Mumbai suburb, works at rescuing girls from brothels in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune and other districts of Maharashtra.  
The brainchild of late Balkrishna Acharya, a strong-willed army veteran, this initiative started one fateful night in 1995 when he discovered a young  Nepalese girl crying desperately wanting to be rescued from forced slavery in Kamathipura, a red-light area in Mumbai. From 1995 to 2000 the NGO worked as the Indian branch of Mighty Nepal. With no financial assistance from any other source, it was entirely funded by the Acharyas. Rescue Foundation, the NGO, in its present-day avatar was registered only in 2000. It has worked away silently but steadfastly to rescue girls from prostitution giving them a chance to get back to a normal life.
Rescue Foundation now operates from Boisar (near Mumbai) and Pune; it also has an investigation and identification centre in Delhi, which checks on complaints lodged with the police about missing girls and then makes an effort to locate and rescue them. After an unfortunate accident claimed Mr Acharya’s life in 2005, his wife, Triveni Acharya, a former journalist, took over the task of running the NGO. Being headed by a woman, the NGO takes a gender-sensitive and practical approach to rehabilitation. It provides the rescued vocational guidance and counselling to enable them to generate income and live a respectable life as law-abiding citizens. Rescue Foundation also offers psychological and medical help as well as arranges repatriation in case of Bangladeshi and Nepalese girls. The extent of the trafficking problem is evident from the fact that the Foundation rescued 72 girls this year between January and April. 
Ms Acharya says sensitising people to the plight of these girls is a huge challenge. She says, “Perhaps the problem of human trafficking does not rate as a national priority due to limited funds available and due to the preoccupation of the government with the coming elections.” A big challenge to the rehabilitation effort is also the social stigma attached to sex workers and the fact that they are ostracised. Nearly 15% of the rescued girls are also affected by HIV/AIDS which requires medical as well as psychological help. The NGO runs a recovery care centre for HIV-positive girls. 
The task of rehabilitation goes far beyond rescuing them from the clutches of pimps. This is where its Boisar complex, built on a 50-acre plot of land just 85km away from Mumbai, is a big help. Rescue Foundation’s recovery centre and training facilities for skill development are located here. It also cultivates fruits, vegetables and flowers and practices vermi-composting to prepare its own manure. The centre has cattle, which provide milk for the residents; the surplus is sold; the cattle dung is used for manure as well as for its biogas-operated generator. The girls are trained in all these income-generating activities.
But it’s not smooth-sailing. Since human trafficking is part of organised crime, Ms Acharya faces frequent threats and enormous resistance from anti-social elements who are unhappy with the anti-trafficking activities. “They lose a lot of money by our rescuing girls from forced prostitution,” says Ms Acharya. The Foundation receives some help from the government’s women & child development committee, but more often it is the police who rescue the girls from forced prostitution and hand them over to the Foundation for rehabilitation and repatriation. 



Obama slams Republicans as US shutdown enters 2nd day

Obama says the longer this shutdown continues, the worse the effects will be as more families will be hurt and more businesses will be harmed

With both Democrats and Republicans sticking to their stands on a new budget pushing the shutdown into the second day on Wednesday, President Barack Obama has blamed a reckless opposition for the latest financial crisis that has forced up to one million workers off the job in the US.


The two parties failed to strike a deal before the 1st October deadline on spending and budget due to differences over ‘Obamacare’, the signature healthcare programme of President Obama.


Obama lambasted the Republicans for being 'reckless' in their apparent willingness to take down the government in order to take down the law overhauling major aspects of health care coverage. He championed the law, signed it in 2010, and then saw it upheld by the Supreme Court last year.


“We know that the longer this shutdown continues, the worse the effects will be. More families will be hurt. More businesses will be harmed. So once again,” he said yesterday on the first day of the shutdown, the first time in nearly 18 years.


Obama urged the Congress to pass the budget and end the shutdown. “Pay your bills, prevent an economic shutdown. Don’t wait, don’t delay, don’t put our economy or our people through this any longer,” he said.


“I will not negotiate over Congress’ responsibility to pay bills it’s already racked up. I’m not going to allow anybody to drag the good name of the United States of America through the mud just to refight a settled election or extract ideological demands. Nobody gets to hurt our economy and millions of hardworking families over a law you don’t like.”


About 800,000 federal workers in the US were told to stay at home while national parks, museums, government buildings and services shutdown as a result of the deadlock.


Meanwhile, the White House said the Congress ought to open the government, return people to work, and “without drama and delay fulfill its responsibility” to make sure the US pays its bills.


But the Republican party leaders, were not willing to make any changes in their approach, as a result of which the Congress has not been able to pass the budget.


Accusing the Republicans of indulging in blackmailing tactics on the affordable healthcare laws, which came into effect on Tuesday, the White House threatened to veto any piecemeal bill funding only parts of the federal government.


Meanwhile, US government economists will not issue regular data — including the September employment report due on Friday — while the federal shutdown continues. The action could affect markets, which can move dramatically based on government reports of major economic indicators.


The Bureau of Labour Statistics, which is part of the Labour Department, said on its Web site where data is normally reported: “During the shutdown period BLS will not collect data, issue reports, or respond to public inquiries. Updates to the site will start again when the federal government resumes operations.”


Letter from the Editor
The Indian markets have faced heavy turbulence over the past three months. We had mentioned in our Cover Story in June this year that, given tardy economic growth and the balance of payments crisis, a weak rupee would have a cascading effect on inflation, interest rates and stocks. Since then, the rupee weakened further and inflation has continued to rise forcing the new RBI governor to hike interest rates to curb the rising prices. With the US Fed postponing a reduction in its bond buying programme and corporate growth declining, the near-term picture is not rosy. Would the market pick up in the coming months or is it headed lower? Turn to page 26 to find out.
On a related note, do check out what R Balakrishnan has to say about infrastructure stocks which are seen by some as value stocks. Should you invest in them? What should you keep in mind if you are considering investing in them? Page 22 has more.
Sucheta narrates how the Rs5,300-crore NSEL scam has meant only setting up committees and buck-passing. She also discusses the background of TC Nair, ex-member of SEBI, who has joined as an independent director of Financial Technologies, even as top former bureaucrats, businessmen and senior employees are fleeing. In her Different Strokes section, Sucheta discusses how sloppy India is about using technology in government offices which may seriously compromise the security of users.
Regular readers are aware that Samir Zaveri, who lost his legs in a railway accident, has dedicated his life to helping accident victims like him as well as shine the light on the working of the Railways. He has teamed up with Moneylife Foundation to help victims of railway accidents. He has donated Rs50,000 to the Foundation that he received as an award for his work. But we wanted to put the donation to a good cause, one that is closest to Samir’s heart: helping railway victims. With his inputs, we have launched the Samir Zaveri Railway Helpline. To know more about the Helpline, do check out our Foundation website ( and please pass the word around.


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