Dr Sunitha Krishnan is instituting a clear mindset shift towards survivors of human trafficking in the criminal justice system. Sunitha’s strategy creates empathy for the victims of trafficking among authorities through the practices of co-management and awareness building.
Prajwala, Sunitha’s organisation, underscores co-management as the cornerstone of their strategy to overcome isolation between survivors and authorities. Sunitha forged proactive partnerships with the Police, Judiciary and the Civic Bodies to address the problem of trafficking as a whole, effectively covering the whole spectrum from rescue to reintegration of survivors. Sunitha empowers police, lawmakers and civic officials with critical knowledge through training programs, and workshops aimed at transforming perceptions and mindsets towards survivors. Prajwala equips the survivors with psychological and economic rehabilitation through Therapeutic Homes, and Employability Training Units by identifying need-based, aptitude based, market assessed, viable and sustainable economic options. The survivors are provided with electoral photo identity cards, food ration cards and health cards. Since Prajwala’s inception, over 5081 women were reintegrated with their families, more than 80 survivors have gotten married, 115 girls received government housing and 30 more are living in group homes.
Sunitha has led policy change and advocacy at the state, national and international levels to ensure lasting systemic changes. Originally drafted by Sunitha, The Nirbhaya scheme fund is being jointly implemented by various government departments like social welfare, SC/ST, police, health, labor and local self-government in coordination with NGOs. Also, for the first time in the country, in the Supreme Court public interest litigation was filed for a Victim Protection Act by Prajwala, which has made the Government of India consider victim protection protocols at every stage from rescue to reintegration.
Globally, Sunitha has evolved universal parameters for best reintegration practices for the United States Department of Justice. ‘Friends of Prajwala’ Volunteer networks in the United States, Switzerland, Canada and Australia have played a pivotal role in facilitating a global movement to combat trafficking. Through social media, conferences, awareness programs and sensitization events, Prajwala has reached close to 7 million people in India and throughout the world.
Sunitha is laser focused on creating ecosystems that are deep rooted in sustainability and succession through co-management with key stakeholders. Sensitizing society towards the dehumanizing trade of human trafficking, Prajwala continues to lobby for an inclusive environment through changes in perceptions and mindsets towards survivors.
This profile was updated in September 2014. Read on for the election profile.