A Lack of Transparency (re Apne Aap Women Worldwide)

Published: Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In a New Delhi village where a staggering 85 percent of women are victims of sex trafficking, the Najafgarh Community Centre is imprinted with the sign of Venus, the symbol for the female gender and for the anti-trafficking organization “Apne Aap Women Worldwide.” On its website, Apne Aap says it runs the Najafgarh Community Centre for the empowerment of women and children, a claim that it makes to donors worldwide. Unfortunately, the striking symbol and the large letters etched below it spelling out “Apne Aap” seem to be the organization’s only mark on the village.

We learned all this when we arrived in Najafgarh this summer with a bold idea to help the villagers transform their situation. After reading about Apne Aap and corresponding with its founder, Ruchira Gupta, we raised $20,000 to fund a vocational training program that would teach the women to sew and provide a sustainable job option as an alternative to prostitution. After an initial $12,000 donation, we received monthly reports from Apne Aap listing names of women and children involved in programs at the Community Centre. Yet we also received desperate e-mails from the community coordinator complaining that Apne Aap was not allocating money appropriately. But in light of the international accolades the organization had been receiving for its efforts to help female sex workers, we were loath to think our $12,000 contribution had been misused, Continue reading


India: Neither Victims Nor Voiceless: Sex Workers Speaking for Themselves

By Audacia Ray, RH Reality Check.
Posted January 12, 2010.

Painting a portrait of people in the sex industry as victims without voices only perpetuates their disempowerment.

Since becoming a part of the U.S. sex worker rights movement five years ago, talking about contentious issues concerning bodies, labor, money, and rights has very much become my calling. In the past year alone, I’ve been quoted on CNN about the value of virginity, talked about South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford on WNYC’s The Takeaway, and admonished the Boston Herald for its slurs toward sex workers. Suffice to say, I give my opinion freely and often loudly.

I thought I knew a lot about sex work, rights, and organizing when, in September, I set off for two weeks in India with my colleague Khushbu Srivastava, Program Officer for Asia at the International Women’s Health Coalition. But as much as I am accustomed to being an “expert,” I quickly realized that I knew next to nothing about the nuances of Indian culture and the dynamics of the local struggle for sexual rights and reproductive health. While there are many things that I learned Continue reading

Audit faults S.F. D.A.’s prostitution program

John Coté, Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, September 20, 2009

The program operated by the San Francisco district attorney’s office targeting customers of prostitutes has ill-defined goals and no way to determine its effectiveness, according to a new audit by the city’s budget analyst.

Despite being touted as a national model that comes at no cost to taxpayers, the audit said the program didn’t cover its expenses in each of the last five years, leading to a $270,000 shortfall.

The program has first-time offenders arrested for soliciting a prostitute pay as much as $1,000 for a one-day class taught by sex-trafficking experts, former prostitutes and others in exchange for having the misdemeanor charge dropped. The program was $49,000 in the red last year, the audit said. Continue reading

Viet Nam: Armed with little more than goodwill, a former prostitute helps others avoid lives of crime.

Last Updated: Saturday, July 4, 2009 09:37:47 Vietnam (GMT+07)

Truong Thi Hong Tam doesn’t try to hide the 10 years of her life she spent as a thief, drug-addict and prostitute.

On the contrary, she now uses her life experience to help others going through the same problems she once did.

Tam, 53, said she spent the 1980s in and out of drug rehabilitation centers and prostitution rehab centers where sex workers receive vocational training. Continue reading

KS: Trafficking task forces prevailing

By Jan Biles
Created June 27, 2009 at 10:32pm
Updated June 27, 2009 at 11:56pm

Kristy Childs ran away from an abusive stepfather when she was a teenager, and within a few months found herself under the control of a pimp and turning tricks first in Denver and then in other cities across the country.

Sometimes, the teenager and the men paying to have sex with her would be arrested and taken to jail. She would be charged with prostitution while the men would be released and told not to go back to the area of town where prostitutes worked.

Childs didn’t understand why she was punished more harshly. Continue reading

NC: Ex-prostitute leads others out

Published: Sat, Jun. 27, 2009 02:00AM

RALEIGH – Last week, Sheila Sanders celebrated five years of redemption — five years since she smoked a crack rock, five years since she turned a trick.

She shook off 13 years as a prostitute in Southeast Raleigh, lost years when she gave up four children to a neighbor, endured five rapes and scavenged meals from the trash — all to fill her pipe.

Five years ago, all she cared about was finding good-quality crack that hadn’t been cut with embalming fluid. Now she leads a support group at The Women’s Center downtown, counseling the very addicts who used to trick alongside her. Continue reading

Vancouver: Cutting off funding for street prostitute van is unconscionable

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It’s common to hear politicians at all levels of government speak sympathetically about the plight of prostitutes who work on street. But doing something about their plight is another thing entirely.

We know that the 20 per cent of prostitutes who work the street are in far more danger than the 80 per cent who work in escort agencies or out of apartments or hotels. Indeed, almost every one of the more than 100 prostitutes murdered in British Columbia in the past two decades has been a street worker. Continue reading