Dr. Sunitha Krishnan


Each year, some two million women and children; many younger than ten years old, are bought and sold around the globe. Impassioned by the silence surrounding the sex-trafficking epidemic, Sunitha Krishnan in 1996 and the late Brother Jose Vetticatil co- founded Prajwala, or ‘eternal flame’. This group in Hyderabad rescues women from brothels and educates their children to prevent 2nd generation prostitution after converting a brothel into a school for the children of sex workers. They have also set up 17 schools, educating the children through all stages of primary and secondary education. Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, an anti trafficking crusader is a rare breed of individual who has committed her life to the cause of the girl child. She is a mental health professional who has been instrumental in rescuing hundreds of children from severely abusive conditions and restoring childhood to them. Dr.Sunitha through her tireless efforts is making it possible for the Government of India and citizens organizations to jointly manage a range of protective and rehabilitative services for children who have been trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation. Gang-raped by 8 men when she was 15, Krishnan has had to deal with all that and more. Though violated, she refused to be broken but rather brought forth an institution that assists trafficked women and girls find shelter. Of naturally small build, Krishnan today is perhaps one of the tallest figures of hope in contemporary India having managed to rescue some 800 girls whom she has rehabilitated through vocational training, jobs and marriage. Krishnan is by no means a publicity seeker who wants to draw attention to herself but an anti-trafficking crusader who is firmly focussed on her mission to save and rescue trafficked women. Sunitha Krishnan has galvanized India’s anti-trafficking movement by coordinating government, corporations and NGOs and by forging partnerships with companies like Amul India, Taj Group of Hotels and Heritage Hospitals to find jobs for rehabilitated women. In collaboration with UN agencies and other NGOs, she has established printing and furniture shops that have rehabilitated some 300 survivors. Dr.Krishnan has worked closely with the government to define anti-trafficking policy and her recommendations for rehabilitating sex victims have been passed into state legislation.