PREVENTION THROUGH EDUCATION

In every city, town or village there are women and young girls who due to economic compulsions and socio-cultural factors are rendered option-less, making them vulnerable to deception or fraudulent means of traffickers. Lack of education makes them more vulnerable than others.  For those unfortunate victims who are already prey to flesh trade, the lives of their children is a matter of immense concern. These children stigmatized by the society are vulnerable to be subjected to exploitative conditions without any hope for reintegration.

In order to prevent sex trafficking and inter-generational prostitution through education, 7 transition centers have been started for vulnerable children who live in poor localities. The centers function as educational environments which not only foster the overall development of the children, but also equip them with the necessary psychosocial and scholastic skills to ensure a bright future that breaks the cycles of poverty and social exclusion. The centers are also bridging spaces to mainstream children into education in regular schools. After completing 7th class from the Prajwala schools, children subsequently enroll in local private or government schools to complete their 10th standard and beyond. Student committees as well as mothers groups are actively involved in the centre’s functioning in order to promote a sense of community ownership and responsibility for the education of their children.

The first transition center was started in the year 1996 with just 5 children, and today in 2013 the transition centers and the drop in centers together have reached out to over 7077 children. Using education as a tool, thousands of vulnerable children are being prevented from being inducted into flesh trade or sex trafficking. Prajwala is also bringing about significant attitudinal and behavioral changes in the local population through involving mothers and local leaders in the process of community-based change to eliminate other harmful practices such as child marriage.

Farhana Begum, daughter of Mohd Fayyaz and granddaughter of Razia Begum, joined our PTEP Kishanbagh 1 center in 2002. She belongs to a very poor and broken family, and her mother did not have a positive character. She did not take care of her children and left to Saudi Arabia with out informing her husband, so Farhana’s grandmother cared for Farhana and her brother. Her father married a second time but lives in another other house, so Farhana’s grandmother and her family face many financial problems. Before counselling by the PTEP teachers, Farhana was a very active, smart, well-learned and disciplined girl. However, due to her family issues she was not coming to school regularly, as her aunties and Grandmother were not taking responsibility for her studies. The PTEP teachers called her grandmother to give counseling sessions to aid in the educational advancement of Farhana. After counseling, the family understood the importance of schooling for Farhana’s future and she subsequently became involved in all center activities. For example, after coming regularly she became the center president, her grandmother took part in her studies by attending meetings at the school, and she was given double promotion to 5th class. Not only did she pass VII class in 1st division, but she also took admission in a mainstream school called Sidra Public School. Now Farhana is completing her Degree 1st year in Nampally Government College with great scholastic success.