Sunitha Krishnan – Anti-trafficking crusader!
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I got to know Dr. Sunitha Krishnan when I was researching human trafficking and measures to prevent it. I thought she might be a person related to the media or an NGO. I started researching with a TED talk show. The introduction of the video was utterly shocking. Children as young as ages three and four were being raped and sold into the flesh trade. I really didn't know that innocent children are forced into such activities. I was really moved by what Sunitha was saying about these children. My heart skipped a beat when I thought that we are living in this world with all these bloody cruel things happening around us.
Who is Sunitha Krishnan?
She was born in 1972. At a very young age, she wanted to help the poor children of a village near home city, so she went to college to become a social worker. One day as she was organizing the village to teach the children, a gang of eight men did not like that a woman was interfering with what they claimed as "man's society." The male dominancy of Indian society influenced the eight men to rape her, beating her so badly that she is partially deaf in one ear. She has had to deal with all that and more. Though violated, she refused to be broken and she gave birth to an institution that assists trafficked women and girls to find shelter. This definitely requires more courage and boldness since this Indian society always presses women, isolates and stigmatizes rape victims. Did you know that she is 4.5 feet tall? Don't let her height fool you... she is a world changer. Today, Sunitha is a leading advocate for the fight against Sex Trafficking.
Not a victim, releasing anger
Sunitha explains in the video that the rape did not cause her to become a victim but rather it has released this anger. Not just any anger, but pure fury. She dedicated her life after that to being an activist and to fight against the same thing that happened to her. In an interview she said, "What affected me more was the way society treated me, the way people looked at me. Nobody questioned why those guys did it. They questioned why I went there, why my parents gave me freedom. And I realized that what happened to me was a one-time thing. But for many people it was a daily thing."
What does this mean to you?
According to me, mental torture and emotional fears are worse than murder. No one can understand, feel the pain or fear like the women who have suffered from rape. Just imagine living with all the pain, fear, and isolation every second in your life. I will say each second is like a murder that occurs to that woman.
On Inspiration and Prajwala
Sunitha believes that rapists should be ashamed and punished. Her courage, conviction, determination and her fighting spirit is an inspiration to all of us. “Society makes you feel cheap. I chose not to feel like a victim. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I speak about it with a lot of pride, because I am proud of what I have become today. I have not done a mistake. I don’t want my face to be blurred. I am not to be ashamed for. The guys that have done it should be hiding their faces and they should be blurring their faces.” – Sunitha
She co-founded Prajwala (meaning, eternal flame) in 1996 with late Brother Jose Vetticatil. The journey began by converting a brothel in India’s southern city of Hyderabad into a school for the children of sex workers. Since then, she has braved threats and physical assaults. One particular attack left her with an irreparably damaged ear - but an undaunted Krishnan has managed to rescue some 8,000 girls. Those rescued are rehabilitated. Shelters have been built and a factory has been opened where skills like carpentry, welding, etc. are taught to the girls. Prajwala also tries to unite the victims with their families. Sometimes, the victims are not accepted back by the families owing to the backwardness of our views on women. At such times, Prajwala takes full responsibility of these victims. Some women and girls are also married off by Prajwala in its endeavour to integrate the victims back into society. Prajwala also takes care of the last rites of the victims who pass away. In all these tasks, Prajwala faces stiff opposition from the orthodox and male dominated Indian society.
Is Sunitha's work noteworthy?
Sunitha have won many awards for her courageous and exemplary work. Her programs on rescue and rehabilitation of victims of trafficking are sought after all around the world. Even state governments are listening to Sunitha for the prevention of trafficking. All this will surely help in minimising this crime. Sunitha has said that the silence of the society towards human trafficking has to change. Let us salute her, join hands with this brave lady. As responsible humans, we must take oath to contribute something to end human trafficking.
When a child grows, when a teen-age aspires, she always wanted to be an actor, doctor, teacher, astronaut, scientist, lawyer, president, princess, etc. Remember, prostitution or flesh business is not on the list and it will not be. END HUMAN TRAFFICKING.
Not for sale.
I am not for sale.
You are not for sale.
No one should be for sale.
Become an abolitionist.
End Human trafficking!