Breaking the shackles… to help create a new dawn
Aditi Roy 02 October 2013
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. 
Donations to Rescue Foundation are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.

Rescue Foundation
Plot No39, Fatimadevi Road, 
Behind Our Lady of Remedy School
Poisar, Kandivali (W), Mumbai 400067, Maharashtra, India
Tel:+91-22-28060707 / 28625240


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