Mumbai: Real hero Priti Patkar runs night shelters for children in Mumbai's red light areas. Her mission is to provide children with a safe haven and grooming them for a future away from prostitution.
Statistics show 40 per cent of female sex workers enter the trade before the age of 18 years in India. And of the 2.8 million sex workers, 36 per cent are children. This is an agonising call for help.
Children of sex workers are often left to fend for themselves or are mute spectators to the horrors their mothers go through every day. Priti Patkar, the founder of NGO Prerana, "Nobody woke up one fine morning and decided to get into the sex trade. They were trafficked, they were forced, deceived, lured and sold into the sex trade and that was likely to happen to the children if you do not give them an opportunity."
Saving the children of sex workers from the trauma of a life of abuse and neglect is Priti Patkar. Today Priti has three night care centres in Mumbai, housing over 200 children. As the sex workers drop their children to go to work, Priti imparts value education to divert their minds. A new life that begins with a prayer and a meal leads eventually to aspirations for a better life.
Twenty-six years later, having changed over 9,000 lives, Priti has successfully prevented the second generation of sex workers from entering the world of prostitution.