Bridging the Gender Equality Gap in India

On December 16th 2012, the world was shaken by the news of a young woman who died after being raped and beaten on a bus in New Delhi India. Although not uncommon in India’s ‘rape capital’, the incident illuminated the extent and nature of abusive crimes against women and triggered weeks of protests across the nation.

Gender inequality is one of the most significant factors contributing to the prevalence of Human Trafficking in India, where it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of women every year are bought and sold for sex and forced labour.

In New Delhi, Not For Sale works to reduce the vulnerability of women survivors to further instances of abuse or exploitation, through empowering new opportunities in dignified work and access to resources for successful reintegration. Paida and her daughter Aisha were amongst the first individuals to benefit from the program.

Paida was sold into prostitution as a teenager. For years, she was forced to work and denied her earnings, until she eventually fell pregnant and was abandoned by her pimps. Fortunately, she was rescued by a local women’s shelter, where she spent months in rehabilitation and where she gave birth to her daughter, Aisha. Last year, following her rehabilitation, Paida joined the NFS Empowerment program in Delhi, through which she was able to train and began working as a professional tailor, enroll her daughter Aisha in daycare and move out of the shelter into independent accommodation.

Since entering the program, Paida has gone from a position of extreme vulnerability to one of financial independence, dignity and purpose. “It is clear in the way she carries herself in the workplace, that she takes pride in her job”, reported Not For Sale India Coordinator Karen Van Der Walt. “She has developed the confidence to work alongside her male colleagues, and to make decisions that profit herself as well as her co-workers”.

Karen observed the whilst the recent spotlight on violent crime reinforces the vulnerability of the female population to abuse and exploitation, women like Paida now have a greater sense of security, confidence and strength fostered through a holistic approach to empowerment, at home and in the workplace.
By creating opportunities for professional growth and financial security, we can not only assist women like Paida, once a victim of abuse, prevent herself from becoming vulnerable again, but can ultimately help bridge the gender equality gap that perpetuates the exploitation of females at the root of trafficking and modern day slavery.

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