My Choices Foundation is a non-profit organization working to end sex trafficking in India
My Choices Foundation – Millions of women and girls live in the shadows of human trafficking all over the world. They live in limbo, in dread, and in suffering, whether enslaved by force, coercion, or fraud. In India, it is believed that 40 percent of the 15 million women who are victims of sex trafficking each year are adolescents and children. Every year, 200,000 Indian children are sold into slavery, often by their parents who have no idea what they are doing. A girl is sold into sex slavery every few minutes. Poor village girls are frequently targeted, with promises of education, employment, or marriage.
These young ladies are on average 12 years old. For sexual exploitation, girls as young as six years old are trafficked. Only about 1% of them are ever saved. If she is saved, the road to rehabilitation will be incredibly difficult. Despite this, there are just a few non-governmental organisations (NGOs) fighting to prevent this from happening.
My Choices Foundation Initiative
Thanks to My Choices Foundation (MCF), a locally based campaign and services network dedicated to ending sex trafficking in India. MCF has extensive experience programming in the Indian context. The following are the accounts of three survivors. Their experiences demonstrate their extraordinary fortitude and highlight the need for swift action to prosecute perpetrators and assist survivors on their quests to reclaim dignity, health, and hope.
When MCF’s Lotus Safe Home social worker met her, Aarohi couldn’t bring herself to talk about what had occurred to her. She disguised herself as a boy and refused to identify herself as a girl because she was afraid of being abused. Her scars were deep and her eyes were filled with terror — she had been sexually abused and molested by her family members on a regular basis. When she first saw this type of violence, she was too young to comprehend its intricacy. She felt completely powerless, and the relentless abuse drove her to flee her home. Police discovered her at the railway station early one morning and sought assistance from MCF.
Her recovery journey at MCF’s Safe Home was lengthy and difficult. She finally opened up after their counsellors put in a lot of work. Coping methods offered in counselling sessions assisted her in shedding her boyish appearance. She was relieved to be referred to as a young girl. She began to talk after a series of constant and lengthy therapeutic sessions in which she cried uncontrollably. She began to use art to express herself. However, she felt dirty because of deeply ingrained cultural, societal, and gender conventions. MCF used a variety of treatments to improve her self-worth and self-esteem, including guidance worksheets to better comprehend self-worth.
Emotional expressions that are healthy, Sessions on appropriate and inappropriate touch, Creating laws against child abuse, overcoming trauma, and improving mental health are all things that need to be addressed. Currency note activity (a crushed INR 100 note retains its worth, and her value has not changed or lowered as a result of the abuse).
As a result of all of these initiatives, Aarohi took the risk of testifying against her family in order to receive the justice she deserved. She continues to express herself via art, but this time in vibrant and bright hues. She continues to get counselling and finds MCF’s Safe Home to be a welcoming environment where she is heard and understood.
Shobha’s decision to make a better life for herself
“It makes me so happy and is a chance for a better life,” Shobha, 15, says of studying. She is currently putting in a lot of effort to ace her board exams. She would have turned to prostitution to sustain her family if it hadn’t been for MCF’s help.
Shobha’s parents struggled to put food on the table because they were from poor families. As daily labourers, they earned INR 100 per day, taking whatever work came their way. Shobha was not deterred. She was resolved to go to school, work well in class, and one day become a renowned professional. Her father unexpectedly became ill and was unable to return to work. Her mother’s income was barely enough to get by each day, and her father’s medical bills began to pile. Shobha was instructed to be devoted to the temple by village elders and religious practitioners — the old Devadasi system still exists in some regions of India.
Women like the one Vivian met are frequently devastated by what happens to the girls in their communities who are trafficked. However, they lack the resources and knowledge to seek assistance. Furthermore, they are fearful of the potential ramifications for their families and their own life. This incident emphasises the necessity of MCF’s Operation Red Alert’s activities. People are caught in vulnerable situations due to a lack of understanding about the issue of sex trafficking and redressal processes.
“As I narrated an awareness play utilising our communicative tool, Flipchart, to a group of women during the Safe Village Program, I noticed that one of the women broke down in tears,” Vivian reflected on the event. To avoid causing her any anguish, I resisted the desire to ask her why. She asked us to her place for a cup of tea after we finished our session. I was overjoyed, and it provided me with an opportunity to initiate a conversation. Because there weren’t many people around, I took advantage of the chance to ask her why she was crying during the play’s narration.
MCF empowers individuals by raising awareness about sex trafficking and offering resources like the Helpline to access it in places where there is a high rate of trafficking or where people are at risk of being trafficked.
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