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Apr 14, 2008 at 12:14am IST

Taking on trafficking mafia: A true heroine's tale

Hyderabad: Sunita Krishnan stands barely taller than the children that she plays with in school. But she is a towering figure. She is their big sister, mother and school principal.

"Children here have been rescued from all kinds of sexual exploitation. incestual rape, sex tourism, being abused in pornographic films and being sold in brothel-based prostitution. The youngest child here is three-years-old,” says Sunita.

As a teenager, Sunita herself had been gang raped. The incident made angry more than leaving her shattered. It was then that she started an anti-trafficking organisation, Prajwala.

She also started Prajwala when one of the oldest red light districts in Hyderabad was getting evacuated.

And since then, she has been rescuing women from brothels across Andhra Pradesh, taking on the ruthless trafficking mafia everyday.

Says Sunita, "I have faced violence outside from traffickers and from anti-social elements who believe my presence was not a good thing. I have also faced opposition from my family as they didn't like my choices.”

But the rescuing act didn't stop for Sunita. She even started employing the rescued women, so they could build a new life by doing construction work or carpentry, and start from scratch.

"I will never be happy outside as I am over here. It's good here because no one behaves like that,” says a rehabilitated victim, Manisha.

Sunita runs 17 schools in Andhra Pradesh for children of prostitutes and brokers with education as a way to erase their chances of being trafficked.

And after rehabilitation, those who leave Prajwala, never talk about it as it is linked with a past that Sunita herself has been helping them forget.

(Fot contact details, you can visit www.prajwalaindia.org)

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