What problem are you trying to solve?
India has the most underage girls in prostitution in the world with an estimated 1.2 million children forced to work in brothels. These girls, some as young as seven, are abducted, sold to traffickers and often tortured. Despite the magnitude of the problem, the number of prosecutions is incredibly low. In 2015 there were only 55 legal cases that led to convictions. Poverty, the gender imbalance, and the caste system are major driving factors leading to the current situation. Child prostitution is a topic is taboo in India. A lack of specialised lawyers with in-depth knowledge about human trafficking and child prostitution is a big part of the problem. Due to this gap in the justice system, most offenders are allowed to continue committing crimes.
What is your solution to this problem?
To put an end to the injustice and to take the offenders off the streets, we opened the School for Justice. The School for Justice will help girls who have survived the most unimaginable traumas to turn the injustice of their past situation into a positive force that will help the lives of other people as well. The School for Justice is an educational program, which enables students with different levels of education to study law. For example, if a girl comes in at level 10, the program will start with pre-university training to get them up to the level 12 in India – which is needed for acceptance into university. Then they start a 5-year law education at one of the best law universities in India. We are also launching a campaign alongside the School for Justice because it is important to raise awareness about child prostitution and the culture of impunity in India.
Why are you going to win The Spindle Award for Best Innovation?
The School for Justice empowers the girls that most people in India forgot about. With the School for Justice the girls are stepping up and fighting back to the injustice they endured. They are not afraid to share their story and to make people realize that they are not the ones to blame.