After seven years of building a start-up organization from scratch, and investing in programs to break the cycle of exploitation by addressing root causes of trafficking, we are seeing significant results, slowly but surely.
Working through the challenges of the pandemic, we helped over 200 commercially sexually exploited women register (including over 100 to get statutorily compliant with documents and Bank accounts) with the government-promised entitlements, strengthening their financial security and lessening their vulnerability. Our unique approach of Home-Based Care in source areas vulnerable to trafficking empowers the community to become first responders to a possible third wave. Our periodic distribution of dry ration kits & monthly medical camps has all helped the women in different red light areas build trust relationships with us. We do all this despite a lot of risk to our lives but also take all necessary precautions to protect our staff as you can see below.
I hope you’ll take the time to look at our website at www.purnata.org and the regular updates we put on social media via our handle Purnata Org. As always, feedback is welcome and encouraged.
Yours for a world free of trafficking
Three day training with Mumbai Staff- 22-24 Sep:
Recently we have had a lot of new staff join Purnata. In fact, since January we have had a stream of new staff joining in different projects. We in the leadership realised that there were several areas we needed to train our new staff to help them come up to speed in terms of their delivery of critical expected responsibilities. We were able to get good rates at a hotel close to our old office and so decided to do the training there.
Day 1 on the 22nd of September, was held with all Project leaders and staff in their teams handing accounts. Here we focussed on the need to understand the need to plan well before filling requisition forms and how to fill the new requisition forms giving correct information. We used a mix of formal training with discussions, role-plays, and activities to help enhance the learning.
Day 2 on the 23rd of September, we only had the project leaders together. Here we reiterated the training on planning and requisitions at a managerial level apart from the need to maintain proper monitoring data and sharing proper reports - daily, weekly and monthly. There was much confusion that needed to be sorted out that got done.
Day 3 on the 24th of September, was an all-staff meeting, including staff in Kolkata & West Bengal (WB). Apart from introductions of new staff and key staff in our cities, we had several motivational sessions, reminding us about justice, our calling, and reigniting our vision from Earnest Costa, Director for HR/Admin/Finance. This was followed by our ED sharing his life story and how it led to the beginning and growth of Purnata. We also covered basic training on Child Protection Policy, Safeguarding Policy, and Prevention of Sexual Harassment policy (POSH). We intend to do more in-depth training on these issues but here we were able to introduce the policies and cover critical aspects of them.
Preparation for 3rd wave and HT in Basirhat:
Together with communities, we are able to build resilience and raise awareness levels within the communities. Last week our team conducted two Awareness programs on 16th and 22nd September in villages near the Bangladesh border of West Bengal, in North 24 Parganas. Following Covid protocols and ensuring safety for all-we invited 8 people per program.
We had good interaction with the folks, all were women. We had a chat about the pandemic situation, we discussed the best way to take care of each other during this pandemic. We also stressed the importance of being vigilant about trafficking in these conditions. As there is a decrease in job situations and daily wage work, traffickers are on the prowl to capture their prey. There was unanimous feedback of wanting more such programs in their villages, to empower them when they face such challenging situations.
Our lives are constantly at risk but also taken care of:
On 17th September we were to receive a dry ration for distribution in partnership with Kshamta NGO and UNICEF. Our team from Ashray Center went down to help to unload the ration kits. A man working in one of the small companies in the area was continuously staring, drooling, and ogling over one of our staff and using a finger to point at her. She was very uncomfortable and scared and shared this with her colleague.
Since he seemed to continue his dirty behavior, the colleague went and confronted him and threatened to call the police. When he heard that he ran away, a colleague of ours managed to take his photo. The women of the area also noticed this and then they came to help our staff meanwhile the man but he had already run away.
The management will be going to investigate this and ensure the man involved will be either punished or strictly warned against any further incidents.
Story of Kajal
My name is Kajal. As a young girl, I grew up fascinated with Bollywood, in particular, I was crazy about Bollywood actor Salman Khan. I have seen almost all of his movies. In one movie he died at the end of the movie, and I couldn't take it. I dressed up in white like a widow and started behaving and living like a widow. After some days, however, I realized that he was alive and that the movie was just a drama. I decided that I will marry Salman Khan only or else I will never marry. Being a good dancer I thought coming to meet him, he may accept me.
After seven years of building a start-up organisation from scratch, and investing in programs to break the cycle of exploitation by addressing root causes of trafficking, we are seeing significant results, slowly but surely.y..overwhelming to be in this new place with no one I knew. I went around asking for the address of Salman Khan. The person who was willing to help me was unknown to me but who also happened to be an agent (Dalal). He said that he knew where Salman Khan’s lived and would take me there. I can't express my joy when he was willing to take me there. He took me in a taxi, not knowing how my life was going to change.
He took me straight to Kamathipura and sold me to a brothel-keeper there. The brothel keeper was forcing me to take customers but I told her I dance well and am willing to dance provided I'm not forced with customers. My brothel-keeper took me to a dance bar and I started to work there. I worked as a bar dancer for three years. Later when all my debts were paid I had a little more freedom. One day I got a chance to run away from that place (Kamathipura) & went back to my village, Barddhaman. After some years I got married to Lalu Mal. I have been married for 7 years through whom I have a 5 yrs old daughter. Now I am having some financial problems and that's why I came back to Mumbai, this time willingly. I came to the Ghatkopar Red Light Area in the last week of July where I met the Puntata staff. I don't like this work and don't want to do it. Purnata staff are helping me through counseling and offering me a future with dignity. But I am still struggling if what they offer will be enough to help me manage my family.
Would you partner with us on this?
Need of a New Rehab Home
Just in the last couple of weeks, we have had 4-5 women come to us who are ready to leave the area, either immediately or before the end of this month. As we know Purnata Bhavan is already filled with five women and we are unable to have more. We desperately need to start a small home like that for another five women who are ready to move in. We need your support to help us achieve this before the end of the month.