How to End Human Trafficking

This Changemakers competition identified some of the most promising and powerful solutions to the problem of human trafficking. The leading ideas and practices were sourced from the 69 competition entries from 22 countries, and also from the online discussion posts, that were submitted during the three-month competition. Changemakers hosted this competition from March 15 to June 15, 2005 in partnership with the Polaris Project and Vital Voices Global Partnership.

The winner will receive $5000


Winner is Announced

March 30, 2005
  • Launch
    February 28, 2005
  • Entry Deadline
    March 30, 2005
  • Voting start
    February 28, 2005
  • Voting end
    March 30, 2005
  • Winner is Announced
    March 30, 2005

Voting for three winners ended at midnight on June 13. Competition entrants were asked to address the criteria below. Contest deadlines, procedures, and rules are described below.

The winners of the Changemakers Innovation Award for ending human trafficking are those entries that best addressed the following criteria. (For entries submitted by an individual, please substitute "individual" for "organization" in the language below.)

Systemic Impact

  • The organization has the potential to create systemic change at a national or regional level that fundamentally alters the manner in which trafficking in persons is combated. The systemic change can include policy or institutional reforms in the public sector or significant grassroots mobilization or movement-building in the private sector.

  • The innovative model of the organization's strategy or operations shows promise of creating notable change within the anti-trafficking field.

Tipping Point

  • The organization is pushing society close to a tipping point beyond which the dynamics of human trafficking will be fundamentally changed for the better within a country or region. The organization must clearly and concretely define and describe both the tipping point and the gap in its capacity that is preventing it from reaching this tipping point. The gap could be either in internal resources or the lack of a key external partner. A compelling case must be made that meeting this gap in organizational capacity will be sufficient to achieve the tipping point.


  • The model or key components of the model are being replicated, either by the organization or through other agencies, or a compelling case has been made for future replication.

  • The model is compelling and the "how-tos" can be conveyed clearly to other organizations so the model will spread on its own merits.

  • The organization believes in sharing the model openly and when possible assists others in understanding and implementing it.


  • The organization and its model can achieve a significant degree of self-sustainability and are likely to be perpetuated over the long-term.

  • A diversity of resources are used to sustain the model (e.g., in-kind support of volunteers or members; earned revenue; governmental partnerships; individual donors), and these resources strategically compliment the model, increasing its impact, efficiency, and replicability.


  • The organization uses an innovative strategic or operational model or applies established approaches in a nontraditional manner.

Contest Deadlines, Procedures, and Rules

The deadline for contest entries was May 22, 2005 U.S. Eastern Time, and voting ended at midnight on June 13, 2005 U.S. Eastern Time.

Financial Statement: To be eligible to win, ALL project teams/organizations (with the exception of local governments and universities) were required to enclose a current income statement and balance sheet. These financial statements need not be audited. Individuals partnering with an organization to implement their work were required to submit a copy of the partnering organization's income financial statement. Individuals without an organizational partner were exempt from the filing requirement. Purpose: These statements were viewed only by members of a Changemakers screening panel for the sole purpose of establishing that the organization that submits a contest entry is a legitimate entity. They were held in strictest confidence.

Entrants were encouraged to send photos that illustrate their idea to [email protected].

Prior to June 1, visitors to the Web site rated—from one to five stars—the contest entries. These ratings were not used to determine the finalists or competition winners.

A panel of judges selected the competition finalists. Online voting for the three winners from among the finalists begans ended at midnight on June 13. The three Changemakers Innovation Award winners were announced on June 15. Organizations from any country could submit anti-trafficking initiatives. Entries had to be in English to enter the competition.

For more information, contact [email protected].

This grid - called a Discovery Framework - is a mosaic of solutions to the human trafficking problem (terms of the mosaic are explained below). This mosaic demonstrates that these solutions' collective impact is greater than the sum of their individual parts. Together, they have the potential for pushing society close to a tipping point beyond which the dynamics of human trafficking is fundamentally changed for the better. This mosaic is meant to be used as a tool for making connections, creating synergies, identifying emerging trends and patterns, and finding and filling gaps.


Low Risk/
High Profits
for Traffickers
High-Risk Populations
Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy Culture
Ensuring Law for All Derek Ellerman
Endang Susilowati
Jeanne Devos

Salma Ali

Stella Cardenas

Zia Awan

Harendra de Silva
Sri Lanka

Khemoporn Wiroonrapun
Creating Value-Driven Communities Montri Sintawichai
Parshuram M.L.
Shane Petzer
South Africa
Sunitha Krishnan
Alexis Ponce
Eliminating Otherness   Sompop Jantraka

Priti Pai Patkar

Alejandro Martinez

Renu Rajbhandari

Stella Tamang

Jeroo Billimoria

Vera Sulistyowati

Surang Janyam

Chantawipa Apisuk

Tina Suprihatin
Marcelina Bautista

This mosaic contains the names of individuals who are leading organizations with exemplary solutions to human trafficking. They are organized in rows by three fundamental principles that have emerged from their work:

  • Ensuring Law for All: allowing marginalized populations to gain equal access to the legal system so that the law serves them.

  • Creating Value-Driven Communities: helping people create and live in healthy communities that successfully set and defend boundaries against human trafficking, and the conditions that support it.

  • Eliminating Otherness: creating inclusive systems that enable full citizenship and opportunity for all.

The solutions in this mosaic also are placed under one of the five primary factors that drive human trafficking:

  • Low Risk / High Profits for Traffickers: Traffickers are driven by these two primary factors that are driving the explosive spread of human trafficking.

  • High Demand: Demand is created by customers who buy products and services, or people for commercial sex, from the trafficking industry.

  • Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations: Victims of trafficking often come from highly vulnerable populations including the poor, migrants, runaways or youth in state custody, minority or oppressed groups, women and children, and victims of violence, war, or natural disasters.

  • Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy: Governments around the world are only beginning to address the problem of human trafficking. Inaction on the part of authorities is compounded by corruption, scarce resources, and low priority for law enforcement.

  • Culture of Tolerance: Human trafficking can flourish only when people tolerate it: for example, when consumers "look the other way" as they purchase goods produced by slave labor; or when parents, tourists, government authorities, and others tolerate the sex industry's predatory practices.
Project Leader: Derek Ellerman
Organization: Polaris Project
Country: USA
Target group: Sex trafficking
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Low Risk/High Profits for Traffickers

Derek Ellerman's Polaris Project is creating a citizen movement to stop the annual trafficking of more than 20,000 women and 100,000 children in the United States.

Market forces that demand cheap commercial sex and that provide suppliers with the opportunity to make huge earnings, with relatively low risk, drive the sex trafficking industry. Undermining these market forces requires a substantial shift in many anti-trafficking programs: the Polaris project attacks the traffickers' twin incentives of high profits and low risk of prosecution.

Polaris is lobbying for state laws modeled on U.S. federal anti-trafficking law that includes provisions for seizure and forfeiture of traffickers' assets. This constitutes a financial incentive for law enforcement agencies, while it simultaneously raises the risk to traffickers. Finally, it ends up providing the additional revenues required to support sexual victims of trafficking.

Polaris gets much of its work done by using sets of 12-17 Polaris Fellows who take three to six months to work full-time on this issue. The Fellows, some of whom were in the sex industry themselves, share the ethnic and cultural diversity of the clients of Polaris Project, and are involved in activities ranging from client services and advocacy to fundraising and public relations.

Polaris Project developed and operates the Greater DC Trafficking Intervention Program as its pilot local program, conducting field research, victim outreach and client services in partnership with local and federal law enforcement. The model will be replicated in the New Jersey/New York region in 2005.

Project Leader: Endang Susilowati
Organization: Yayasan Panca Karsa (YPK)
Country: Indonesia
Target group: Migrant women workers
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: High Demand

A lawyer and advocate for migrant workers, Endang Susilowati marries advocacy at the policy level with grassroots action. Through her organization, Yayasan Panca Karsa (YPK), she is protecting migrant women workers by working to revise national labor laws and by enabling the women to resist traffickers' deviousness and demands.

Several hundred million Indonesians leave their villages to work as laborers, lured by "agents" who promise them the world. Sadly, the reality is far from that and can be witnessed in the hordes of returned workers: scarred by their experiences as bonded labor, in debt, and suffering from psychological and physical trauma, they are shadows of their former selves.

Through a decentralized effort that puts former migrant workers in charge, YPK has set up a network of small service centers in Indonesia that serve the women and girls most likely to follow an agent into a life of migrant servitude and debt bondage. The centers—typically staffed by a woman from the area who had migrated out in search of a "better life" and returned—counsel these women and arm them with information, advocacy, and vocational training.

Apart from this preventive role, the centers serve a healing function for the returnees who need help in rebuilding their lives and psyches. Recently started is a one-stop service center to help migrant women do everything—from obtaining a passport to learning to manage money.

As a member of the national Consortium of Defending Migrant Workers, Susilowati is lobbying for protective legislation—and implementation—to safeguard the rights of this group. YPK's intensive documentation of real-life cases has made it a reference point for journalists and national and international advocacy groups.

Project Leader: Jeanne Devos
Organization: National Domestic Workers Movement (NDWM)
Country: India
Target group: Domestic workers' rights
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Sister Jeanne Devos set up the National Domestic Workers' Movement (NDWM), India's first national movement to bring visibility to the plight of domestic workers, particularly children. In India domestic workers often live in harsh, abusive conditions and are generally not considered "real" workers with rights to adequate pay and legal protections. Because they toil behind their employers' closed doors, cases of victimization rarely come to light.

By organizing and empowering domestic workers, influencing public opinion and lobbying the government, NDWM is improving the lives of an overlooked and exploited group, both in India and internationally.

Devos kickstarted the movement in 1985 by bringing workers together to demand improved treatment and wages. Since then, the movement has expanded to offer new approaches to identifying and intervening in abusive domestic labor situations and human rights training for migrant domestic workers. NDWM's lobbying has led several Indian state governments to adopt reforms like mainstreaming domestic labor into the informal sector or setting up a code of conduct for employers of domestic workers.

In 1997 Devos spearheaded the campaign to pressure the U.N. to recognize domestic work as a form of contemporary slavery. Two years later, her efforts, along with similar groups in Latin America and South Africa, succeeded in getting the ILO to declare domestic work as one of the four worst forms of child labor. Devos is part of a worldwide movement that seeks to gain access to the national and international resources available to those combating child labor. She was awarded the Belgian Peace Prize for her work

Project Leader: Salma Ali
Organization: Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA)
Country: Bangladesh
Target group: Women at risk
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Salma Ali, activist and Supreme Court advocate, works through the Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA) to fight for appropriate care of abandoned girls by attacking the practice of unlawfully imprisoning them in the name of providing "safe custody." BNWLA is preventing a very basic human rights violation and empowering women to step out of the victim groove and get on-track for enfranchised, productive lives through legal interventions that secure their release, followed by rehabilitative services that create life choices for these women.

A large population of abandoned women and girls in Bangladesh are victims of domestic violence, forced prostitution, and rape. When located by state agencies, in a terrible perversion of its protector role, the state becomes both perpetuator and perpetrator of abuse. Underage girls are placed in "protective custody," in prisons housing convicted criminals. Here they remain, supposedly until they turn 18—but in reality, much longer—after which they are tossed out. Deeply scarred from sustained abuse (first at the hands of their violators and then in prison), lacking life-skills and self-esteem, these women re-enter the world vulnerable and unprotected, and inevitably fall prey to traffickers and other criminal elements.

BNWLA has crafted a long-term solution to the problem by combining legal intervention and advocacy with socio-economic rehabilitation. Volunteer women lawyers work closely with each wrongful detainee to petition courts for their release. Once released, the women are placed in halfway homes where they access counseling, healthcare, personality development, and income-generation training services designed to build self-reliance. BNWLA assists this transition to sustainable independence through arranging jobs and safe accommodation.

Simultaneously, BNWLA's ongoing documentation and analysis of case studies is amassing data to lobby with government and lawmakers to change the laws and policies that allow state-instituted victimization.

Project Leader: Stella Cárdenas
Organization: Fundación Renacer
Country: Colombia
Target group: Sexually exploited children
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy
Fundación Renacer; [email protected]

Stella Cárdenas has pulled together a range of services and legal protections for sexually exploited children in Colombia by working directly with this group, and by pushing the public and the state machinery to take responsibility for them.

A series of factors put children at risk for sexual exploitation in Colombia and leaves them unprotected. A declining economy, the war, and drug trade have caused the displacement of families, making children vulnerable to being prostituted.

Through her organization, Fundacion Renacer ("Rebirth Foundatión"), Cárdenas is building new institutional protections against child prostitution and pornography in Colombia. In 1997 this resulted in the passage of Law 360 that, for the first time, assigned penalties— fines or jail sentences—for anyone who draws children into prostitution.

To achieve broad enforcement of the law and to continue to influence policy, Renacer is developing alliances with local private citizen's organizations and international networks working in the field of child protection. The aim is to forge a common platform and a unified negotiating bloc. Partnerships with international organizations have added muscle to the program and help in putting pressure on the state. The ultimate aim is to frame an international law that will make the principle of extraterritoriality real, so that pedophile tourists and child traffickers can be brought to trail.

Recognizing the unique complexity of children in prostitution—drug use, abuse from pimps and clients, psychological disturbances, STD and HIV/AIDS, illiteracy—Renacer works directly with sexually exploited children. It offers them access to doctors, psychologists, drug intervention, education, job training, fun 'n games, and placement in residential homes for those who want to quit being prostitutes.

Project Leader: Zia Ahmed Awan
Country: Pakistan
Target group: Trafficking of women and children
Principle: Ensuring Law for All

In Pakistan, Zia Ahmed Awan's organization Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) is combating trafficking by spearheading a movement to change discriminatory laws and practices that facilitate, rather than prohibit, victimization of vulnerable groups. Through public campaigns in support of individual cases of women and child trafficking, LHRLA is creating a better environment for addressing the problem in its entirety. LHRLA's work has promoted regional cooperation in fighting trafficking and key changes in the Pakistan judiciary.

Intermittent military rule and infusion of conservative Islamic influences have created a legal framework in Pakistan that often grossly violates a citizen's basic rights and especially jeopardizes women. Discriminatory laws matched with large-scale poverty and illiteracy, feudal social codes, a paucity of legal aid services, and an ineffectual, often corrupt, executive and judiciary have caused widespread rights violations. Pakistan holds the pole position in the global trafficking line-up.

LHRLA's strategy is crafted to both establish the rule of law and challenge existing laws. It operates as a pro bono law firm for impoverished clients, and ratchets this up by building highly public campaigns around their cases. Through these campaigns, the organization pinpoints how each case demonstrates an abusive law or policy, and builds local and regional level cross-sectoral alliances to fight human rights abuses. An on-going awareness-building program through seminars and popular media supports development of a civil society that is intolerant of abuse and ready to demand equitable laws and effective law enforcement.

To combat trafficking at a regional level, LHRLA works with citizen sector organizations in neighboring countries to secure policy changes from their governments. Some major HRLN-led victories include: exposing slave trading of Bangladeshi women and children to Pakistan leading to their repatriation and alerting state heads of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation countries to the issue; and banning child jockeys in UAE.

Project Leader: Professor Harendra de Silva
Organization: National Child Protection Authority (NCPA)
Country: Sri Lanka
Target group: Abused children
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy
Child Protection

In Sri Lanka, partially visible but largely neglected, are child prostitutes, street children, child laborers, and those trafficked for one purpose or another. Of special concern are children traumatized by war and child victims of incest and domestic violence.

National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) founder Professor Harendra de Silva is leading its concerted campaign to end child abuse in Sri Lanka by overcoming outdated legislation, weak coordination among nongovernment groups, and government and public inaction and prejudice. It uses advocacy, protection, legal reform, and rehabilitation to counter all aspects of child abuse. In this, it has co-opted various strata of citizenry, from government officials, ministers, police, judges, teachers, medical professionals, to community workers.

NCPA uses the media in a systematic manner to raise awareness about child abuse issues and to raise consciences among Sri Lankans. Highly publicized investigations and trials, TV and radio interviews, talk show panels, advertisements, and articles in the print media are used to transform public attitudes and effect policy change.

Since pushing the basic child protection law and a law on video evidence in 1999, the authority has worked on amendments to numerous other acts, from widening the definition of criminal offences to include various areas of child abuse to increasing the minimum employment age. NCPA works closely with the police and has helped train and organize trafficking units and cyber patrols.

The authority has attracted attention from South Asian countries, and the model is already being replicated in Bangladesh and Nepal. De Silva himself is linked with several police operations in the UK, including the London Metropolitan Police Pedophile Unit and the National High Tech Crimes Unit. UNICEF will soon be promoting the model internationally.

Project Leader: Khemporn Wiroonrapun
Organization: Foundation for Child Development (FCD)
Country: Thailand
Target group: Migrant child laborers
Principle: Ensuring Law for All
Factor: Culture of Tolerance

Through the Foundation for Child Development (FCD) that she heads, Khemporn Wiroonrapun, an experienced advocate for child workers, is promoting the rights of immigrant child laborers who enter Thailand from neighboring countries.

FCD exposes the growing problems of immigrant child labor who enter Thailand illegally and the debt-bondage they are often under. A sampling can be found in any of the garment factories, packaging stores, or restaurants that dot the country where children as young as eight work long hours and suffer physical, psychological, and sometimes sexual abuse from factory owners and other adults.

Because illegal immigrants lack protection from the Thai government, they suffer greater discrimination and face far more adverse circumstances than Thai workers. While over the last two decades child labor has received global attention and policies have been formulated to handle this problem, migrant child workers are an underrepresented lot.

FCD reaches out to this marginalized subset of child workers directly and offers a variety of services. Its strategy rests on three primary approaches: information gathering and analysis; rescue, rehabilitation prevention, repatriation; and awareness building at the national and international levels.

Foreign child labor issues are made visible via case studies that determine the nature and scope of the problem and are presented to policymaking bodies as well as to the general public. The media are seen as key actors in highlighting human rights issues such as this, and the intention is to shake citizens from a state of denial to action. With the aim of fostering a stronger government response, FCD collaborates with existing state systems, including the National Committee on Child Labor Protection, of which Wiroonrapun is a member.

Project Leader: Montri Sintawichai
Organization: Child Protection Foundation (CPF)
Country: Thailand
Target group: Abused children
Principle: Creating Value-Driven Communities
Factor: Low Risk/High Profits for Traffickers
Factor: Culture of Tolerance

Until Montri Sintawichai came on the scene, Thailand had yet to institutionalize an action plan to protect the rights and lives of abused and sexually exploited children.

Sintawichai's earliest focus was on poor migrant families for whom stresses and separations are almost endemic, destabilizing home life. Sometimes children are forced to work as laborers or prostitutes to help support the family.

Sintawichai's model for intervention rescues, shelters and nurtures abused children, and works with their families to change the conditions that led to abuse. He employs the combined efforts of the family, local leaders, and the government to stimulate public awareness of the issue and has successfully lobbied for laws that protect children's rights.

Through the Child Protection Foundation (CPS) that he established in 1993, Sintawichai has built up a network of citizens, police and welfare department officials, community leaders, medical practitioners, and volunteers. Their job? To respond to individual cases of abuse, as well as to the larger issues that affect society as a whole. There is also a training program for cops in handling child abuse cases

Because of CPS's efforts, the government was pressurized into formulating reforms that protect children, especially in terms of coordinating and supporting enforcement and treatment, and follow-up help to children. In 2000 Thailand's Criminal Procedures Code was amended to protect child victims and witnesses against intimidation in court cases and to prevent the use of bribery and pressure tactics. Laws to increase penalties against sexual exploitation of the young have been strengthened. The new laws target customers, traffickers, and parents who sell their children into prostitution.

Project Leader: Parshuram M.L.
Organization: Odanadi
Country: India
Target group: Child trafficking
Principle: Creating Value-Driven Communities
Factor: High Demand

Parshuram M.L.'s organization, Odanadi, is fighting child trafficking in India by attacking both supply and demand factors that fuel this trade. By arming poor rural communities with awareness and information, Odanadi is making them less vulnerable to traffickers' scams for procuring their children and so chokes supply. Simultaneously, a no-holds-barred public campaign exposing trafficking rings and the extent and horrors of the trade is severely cramping demand, and serving as a wake-up call to society.

Child trafficking is a mega industry in India. The players making up its sophisticated networks and systems are members of organized crime as well as respected professionals, often in care/safety-provision roles such as doctors, teachers, and police officers. Most of the victims are from villages where poverty and low education levels make families easy prey to the slick abduction schemes of criminals. There is virtually no recourse for families once a child is trapped within the trafficking machinery. General public apathy and a blinkered attitude toward child trafficking further help abet the crime.

Odanadi has commissioned all stakeholders in its anti-trafficking war. At the village level, it educates communities to be vigilant against predators. Local government bodies are trained to become watchdog networks capable of preventing abductions and rescuing victims. An aggressive publicity campaign conducted through the media and the arts, involving ordinary citizens and artistes and sponsored by local businesses, is ensuring exposure of the guilty and forcing society to acknowledge the issue and be sensitized to the plight of victims. Simultaneously, Odanadi provides rehabilitation services for the rescued.

The Odanadi model has spread in South India and Parshuram is currently forging links with national-level organizations fighting child trafficking.

Project Leader: Shane Petzer
Organization: International Network of Sex Workers Projects (INSWP)
Country: South Africa
Target group: Sex workers' rights
Principle: Creating Value-Driven Communities
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

In most countries where sex work is criminalized or stigmatized, sex workers are exploited by their managers, abused by their clients, and have no legal or moral recourse.

Shane Petzer is both creating a global movement to champion sex workers' rights in keeping with the practical realities of their lives and unifying sex worker advocates around a common position of legitimizing the profession. He is concentrated on building the organizational and leadership capacities of individuals and groups concerned with empowering sex workers. Intent on moving the focus away from rehabilitation and reform efforts that he believes serve to alienate the group, he is uniting a divided movement that addresses the special needs of sex workers.

The early beginnings of his work translated into his forming the Sex Worker Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), a nonracial, sex worker-led advocacy group that also educates sex workers. Recognized today as a leading rights organization in South Africa, SWEAT has been instrumental in changing federal polices.

As head of the International Network of Sex Workers Projects (INSWP), Petzer is now seeking to transform INSWP from a loose coalition of organizations acting largely in disunion, to a formalized, authoritative advocacy-focused center of international dimensions. The effort is to change societal norms and laws in order to accord sex workers the same socioeconomic privileges and work conditions enjoyed by other professions. And for those individuals wanting to opt out of sex work, INSWP is opening doors for appropriate methods of alternative employment training.

Project Leader: Sunitha Krishnan
Organization: Prajwala
Country: India
Target group: Rehabilitation of trafficked children
Principle: Creating Value-Driven Communities
Factor: Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy

Sunitha Krishnan is challenging the turned eye of the state that results in dysfunctional safe houses for children rescued from commercial sexual and other exploitation and put into rehabilitative custody of the community. Through her organization, Prajwala, she is playing a facilitative and catalytic role in getting India's government and citizen organizations to jointly manage a slew of protective and rehabilitative services for sexually trafficked children. This joint management and mutual accountability between the state and the civil sector candidly piggybacks on the former's financial clout and considerable legal and political infrastructure.

India boasts a network of state-run "transit homes" for "rescued" children that are meant to function as safe houses or transition centers until the kids are rehabilitated. The reality, however, is mismanagement by a state disinterested in the lives of these children, either within the homes or after they leave. A high percentage of kids end up back where they came from: the streets or brothels.

Prajwala's first object of reform lies in getting citizen organizations to co-manage and monitor transit homes together with the state, where rehabilitation and reintegration is the focal point. As a result, crisis-counseling cells have been set up for the first time in these homes, along with medical counseling that address HIV/AIDS patients. Reintegration—economic empowerment of these children once they return to the outside world—is a thread that runs through every activity.

Being an anti-trafficking, anti-legalization, and anti-licensing organization, Prajwala has been working with the state on anti-trafficking policies and has also chalked out a stepwise approach for government implementation. Victim-friendly protocols on rescue, compensation, protection, and rehabilitation have been drawn up and are currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court.

Prajwala's strategies are being replicated within Indian states and in Nepal.

Project Leader: Alexis Ponce
Organization: Ecuadorian Permanent Assembly on Human Rights (EPAHR)
Country: Ecuador
Target group: Human rights
Principle: Creating Value-Driven Communities
Factor: Culture of Tolerance

Alexis Ponce is using a human rights strategy that cuts across all rights issues. He is involving young people and society at large in the fight for civil liberties in a culture that lacks sensitivity and compassion for the discriminated and marginalized.

So who comprise the disenfranchised? Ethnic minorities who face conditions of extreme poverty and discrimination, street children, trafficked women and children, people with HIV, and bonded labor in sweatshops are some examples of the populations for whom Ponce's organization—the Ecuadorian Permanent Assembly on Human Rights—is fighting for.

The assembly's backbone is the comprehensive training in human rights that it imparts to high school and university students, for whom the focus is on building their perspective around human rights issues and hands-on experience in dealing with them. These volunteer trainees cut their teeth on specific cases or more general causes that they "adopt" and then go on to providing the necessary legal, emotional, and advocacy inputs. Trainees are encouraged to make a public splash in order to influence public opinion, increase sensitivity to discrimination, and guarantee that the cases are not erased from public memory. In the case of causes, legal action, public debate, and demonstrations are used as tools to lobby for anti-discrimination laws.

A clever ploy used by the assembly to force public attention and government action is to enlist celebrities—politicians, performers, sports heroes, international personalities—in adopting specific causes. Various Nobel Peace Prize winners have lent muscle to the program: Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Argentinean Noble winner is replicating the model in his country, while the Continental Coordinator for Service of Peace and Justice in Latin America is helping spread the model throughout the continent.

Project Leader: Sompop Jantraka
Organization: Daughter's Education Program (DEP)
Country: Thailand
Target group: Sex trafficking
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: High Demand

Sompop Jantraka's Daughter's Education Program (DEP) has pioneered a preemptive approach to prevent sex trafficking of girls in Thailand that intervenes just before parents make the crucial decision to sell their daughters to brothel owners. By stepping in at this juncture to provide alternative life choices to the girls, DEP is removing large numbers of potential prostitutes from the supply chain, thus severely undercutting the flourishing market.

Prostitution is big business in Thailand and sophisticated systems ensure a steady supply of girls. A chunk of this supply originates from rural areas where economic deprivation, illiteracy and women's low status make families vulnerable. Networks of agents representing brothels infiltrate the villages, sniffing out financially troubled families with young daughters. With false promises of the good life, they buy the girls for small sums, condemning them to indentured servitude to brothel owners.

Using its own intelligence network, DEP approaches vulnerable families six months before the agents would typically target them and launches on a program designed to address the key issue underpinning the girls' vulnerability. With the aim to develop, educate, and protect, DEP runs month-long camps and counseling sessions that provide lessons on self-worth and vocational alternatives. Gradually, the girls undergo a change in self-perception and reach a point when they can resist their own sale into prostitution, even if it means leaving home and building new lives with DEP support.

To provide high-impact lessons, DEP draws extensively on real-life examples. Women who were destined to be sold but opted for other careers, counsel the girls. Ex-prostitutes supply grim reality checks on the sex trade that counter the rosy picture presented by procurers.

To battle regional trafficking, DEP is researching the situation of children in the entire Mekong Basin and is an information source for government reports to ILO, UNICEF and health agencies. DEP also runs the Street Education Health Program to protect child beggars from being trafficked and is building networks among child rights organizations regionally and internationally for collective action.

Jantraka has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and was recognized by Time magazine in 2002 as one of the "25 Living Heros in Asia."

Project Leader: Priti Pai Patkar
Organization: Prerana
Country: India
Target group: Child and female trafficking
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Priti Pai Patkar's organization Prerana is battling prostitution in India through an aggressive multi-pronged attack that combines service provision, policy advocacy, and legal activism directed at cutting off supply. Prerana works with those in the trade to provide them with life choices enabling them to quit. It also challenges the inevitability of generational prostitution by enabling the children of prostitutes to opt for other professions. And by engaging an ever-expanding circle of national-level stakeholders, Prerana is placing formidable obstacles to trafficking operations. This concerted blitzing of supply points is designed to deal a body blow to a lucrative trade.

India's Constitution may condemn it as slavery and the law may deem it illegal, but prostitution in India is a flourishing industry. Almost everyone's a winner in this business except the prostitutes themselves, the majority of whom are bonded sex slaves. The profoundest impact of their disenfranchised status is on their children who grow up in vitiating environs, without access to proper education or healthcare. Inevitably, they internalize their victim status and cannot even conceive of a future outside the flesh trade, many making their "professional" debut when barely adolescent. The increased inequities brought in by globalization are also heightening the vulnerability of women and children to sexual trafficking, but laws and policies remain critically incapacitated to deal with the issues.

The starting point for Prerana's interventions was the thumping consensus among prostitutes that their children should not enter the trade. Yet, they don't want to yield their right as guardians. Working in partnership with mothers and children, Prerana has designed a number of services that are rooted in the kids' current reality but intended to equip them to transition to a very different one. To counter the destructive influences of their environment, Prerana works with low-cost residential schools to secure admission for these kids. For toddlers, there are daycare and nightcare centers to keep them away when their mothers entertain clients. Simultaneously, counselors instill self-esteem in the kids.

To counter sex trafficking, Prerana works on several fronts with multiple partners including CSOs, lawyers, and women and child welfare state agencies, focusing on rescue and rehabilitation of trafficked victims and sensitization workshops for lawyers and public officials. Successful results of Prerana-instigated class action suits include crucial clarification of laws meant to protect minors. Most recently, Prerana is campaigning against beer bars to expose how these legal enterprises are a venue for solicitation. Prerana's efforts have put trafficking on funding agency agendas and its approach has gained government recognition.

Project Leader: Alejandro Martinez
Organization: Small Workers' Project
Country: Colombia
Target group: Child labor
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations
[email protected]

Alejandro Martinez's Small Workers' Project is empowering Colombia's youth labor to fight the exploitative forces inherent in their situations and instead optimize on the potential of work to help them learn and grow. By promoting the development of youth workers—both as individuals and as members of a larger sociopolitical movement of working children—the program is transforming the lives of these child victims.

Many Colombians—no less so than observers and defenders of children's rights in developed countries—would prefer their children not to work. However, poverty forces millions of children into jobs and often into criminalized trades like sex and drugs. Their youth, limited education, lack of family support, and survival-driven needs make them vulnerable to wide-ranging exploitation in the workplace and outside. Lacking any legal protections, they exist on the margins of society and are susceptible to abusive, violence-prone street cultures.

The project enfranchises working kids using a four-pronged strategy that combines building space for organization and participation with practical improvements in their life and work conditions. To develop their social skills and reconnect them with the community, the project's group-structured social development program involves youth and adult family members. Nonformal schooling equips them with language and math and life-skills needed for the workplace. Creation of dignified jobs designed for both children and adult family members give kids and adults positive income-earning opportunities, helping to strengthen the community and the kids' perception of themselves as members of a healthy social fabric.

In addition, the project spearheads initiatives to help the youth reach out to peers across Colombia to build a nationwide child-centered movement that can influence laws and policy that guarantee working children's rights. Currently, Martinez is working to draw 20 Colombia child welfare organizations into this movement.

Project Leader: Dr. Renu Rajbhandari
Organization: Women's Rehabilitation Centre (WORAC)
Country: Nepal
Target group: Sex trafficking
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

A doctor and social interventionist, Renu Rajbhandari has designed a program that addresses the healthcare and rehabilitation needs of HIV-positive women in Nepal, while also directing efforts at eliminating the systemic victimization that forces many women into prostitution. Her Women's Rehabilitation Centre (WORAC) provides support services to AIDS-affected ex-prostitutes to ensure that they are not forced back into sexual circulation. Simultaneously, by providing livelihood options, WORAC removes their need to (re)-enter the trade.

In rural Nepal severe unemployment propels mass migration of agricultural labor. Recent Maoist militancy in these areas has further fueled this exodus. Lacking self-determination powers in the family and community, girls and women are most susceptible to victimization, with increasing numbers moving (or being moved) to service brothels in India and Nepal. They are the single largest carriers of the HIV virus but few efforts are directed at treating or rehabilitating them. Instead, communities and families reject HIV-positive women, forcing them to return to prostitution, thus exponentially increasing the number of people exposed to HIV.

Three strategies compose WORAC's arsenal in its battle against the phases of this destructive cycle. To help AIDS victims, WORAC provides medical care, shelter counseling and rehabilitation services (including economic and emotional support) through camps held at strategic locations of "high-migration" points (e.g., long-distance bus terminals). The preventive strategy educates at-risk women using easily accessible material.

Finally, WORAC attacks the root causes driving these women into prostitution: poverty and disempowerment. Through entrepreneurship development schemes—targeting women already in prostitution and potential victims—that help women set up businesses using locally sourced material, WORAC is demonstrating viable alternatives to prostitution. The trainings are complemented by education on women's rights and responsibilities, the sex trade, and AIDS.

Project Leader: Stella Tamang
Organization: Bikalpa Gyan Kendra (BGK)
Country: Nepal
Target group: Trafficking of Girls
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Stella Tamang is combating trafficking of rural girls in Nepal through an education program that gives them viable alternatives to bonded servitude.

With an earn-while-you-learn policy and a curriculum that is integrated into—and leverages—their rural backgrounds, Tamang's institution, Bikalpa Gyan Kendra (BGK), empowers its students by building self-esteem and opening up multiple career options where they believed they had none. Moreover, since these careers are rooted in their home areas, BGK is facilitating women-led local wealth creation, thus both eliminating the need for families to push their daughters into sexual/labor bondage and transforming the status of rural women.

In rural Nepal survival is a struggle for all. But it is toughest for women, who are systematically deprived of scarce resources—food, education, healthcare—in favor of male family members. Girls learn early that their value lies in income they can generate as labor in urban homes and sweatshops, or as prostitutes. Lacking opportunities, education and skills, and a sense of self-worth, girls seem born solely to stoke modern slavery systems.

BGK's 18-month residential nonformal curriculum is designed to morph "victims" into changemakers. Girls are removed from homes where they are at-risk and placed in a learning space that nurtures all-round development. Market-savvy income-generation trainings ensure they learn skills demanded by rural markets. Earn-as-you-learn schemes enable remittances to families, securing their support.

Midway, armed with confidence and skills, girls return home to explore local resource bases and earning opportunities (e.g., teaching at CSO-run schools, nursing, retailing start-ups). The last nine months at BGK focus on plotting next-steps to reach professional goals.

In March 2005, Tamang won a U.N. award (Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Su Ki was a co-recipient) in recognition of her work with marginalized women.

Project Leader: Jeroo Billimoria
Organization: Childline India Foundation (CIF)
Country: India
Target group: Child abuse and trafficking
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Jeroo Billimoria's Childline—a national 24-hour toll-free phone emergency service for street children—is designed to provide immediate response to the crisis, after which it links the child to long-term rehabilitative services.

The Childline India Foundation (CIF) evolved from the realization that no single institution can respond adequately to the range and complexity of street children's needs. CIF created a partnership approach that connects organizations and persons working with child protection issues, thus facilitating a collaborative effort that caters to even the most marginalized child.

India's child-protection services map is dotted with government and nongovernment institutions dedicated to assisting kids in different capacities. But with no single nodal body to connect these dots, everyday thousands of kids fall through the gaps in the system, becoming victims of abuse, trafficking, and other exploitative activities.

The Childline model works like an intelligent switchboard where a single distress call quickly activates a community's available resources. The core elements are: a local CSO who houses the 24-hour hotline; the CFI team manning the phones; a citizen sector organization as a "support organization" that provides the necessary interventions (e.g., arranging shelter; contacting juvenile justice personnel); and another "resource organization" (e.g., a hospital or school). Facilitating the core team is the local Childline Board comprising top representatives from the police, juvenile judiciary, government, and educational institutions.

To make child services more efficient and child-friendly, CIF holds training and sensitization workshops for government personnel and nongovernment child-connected agencies. Simultaneously, all CIF partners are mandated to include energetic marketing of Childline (the toll-free number and its services) in their outreach activities, so that kids are aware that help is just a phone call away. Childline operates across urban India and has begun experimenting with a rural model. International replications have begun in Thailand, Africa and Europe.

Project Leader: Vera Sulistyowati
Organization: Yayasan Abdi Asih (YAA)
Country: Indonesia
Target group: Women sex workers
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

On one hand, Vera Sulistyowati is improving the work environment of women sex workers, and on the other she is helping them find alternative livelihoods.

Like others around the world, people in Indonesia's sex industry rarely have the skills or contacts needed to make the transition to other jobs and lifestyles. Though the reasons for entering this profession are fairly complex, poverty is a leading cause. Exploited by the pimps and brothel owners, and ill-treated by clients who refuse to wear condoms, these women are fair game for mental and physical abuse.

Sulistyowati's approach is to work with the brothel owners and pimps, who control the women's lives, to obtain fair treatment for their "charges." She gains the trust of the women's managers by not threatening their continued income, and through social and HIV/AIDS awareness programs, concentrating her efforts on persuading them to better the women's working conditions. Working with brothel-owners, information about safe sex (that benefits both the client and the sex worker), and the need for respecting sex workers, is drummed into the heads of regular customers.

Her organization, Yayasan Abdi Asih (YAA), offers counseling, vocational courses, a temporary shelter, information leaflets and lectures on HIV/AIDS, examination for STDs and HIV/AIDS, condom supplies, and savings schemes.

Other organizations in the country are incorporating the work of YAA, in consultation with YAA, and it has become a reference point for those dealing with the sex industry in Indonesia.

Project Leader: Surang Janyam
Country: Thailand
Target: People in the sex industry
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations

Surang Janyam is helping sex workers in Thailand fight exploitation and secure rights that are enjoyed by workers in other industries. Through a program combining education, awareness building, and training in collective action, Janyam enables them to win freedoms that have been denied to them by both law and industry practice. At the same time, their enhanced education level is enabling many to successfully transition to other careers.

Thailand's sex industry workforce is largely composed of women from rural backgrounds. Poverty and low education levels combine to severely restrict their income-earning options. It's a toss-up between abysmal salaries of unskilled factory labor and far more lucrative earnings of the sex trade. Survival needs push most to the latter. If lucky, they work in beer bars that afford workers a level of personal freedom. Many more end up in brothels: prisoners of sexual bondage, ignorant of their rights, and open to profession-related health risks.

Janyam's approach is designed to build the capacity of sex workers and expand their options; and also to introduce reforms in the sex industry that enfranchises its workers. A non-formal, flexi-time education program equips sex workers with basic language skills and inputs relevant to their health and safety, such as information about legal rights and AIDS. This both bolsters self-esteem and encourages them to explore other professions.

Simultaneously, Janyam is training sex workers in collective action, helping them to unionize and successfully lobby for rights and access to benefits. Thus, although illegal, the industry is being forced to reform by internal pressures, resulting in improved work conditions and protection against exploitation for the thousands it employs.

Janyam is spreading her program throughout Thailand in collaboration with the government. Her work with international networks is taking it to other countries.

Project Leader: Chantawipa Apisuk
Organization: Empower
Country: Thailand
Target group: Women Sex Workers
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Vulnerability of High-Risk Populations


Through her organization Empower, Chantawipa Apisuk is raising consciousness among Thailand's women sex workers to organize to fight against exploitation and health risks like HIV/AIDS. She is empowering these women to speak up for themselves and press for their own needs.

Thailand has a large, organized sex industry serving both domestic and international customers. Like everywhere else, sex workers are an exploited lot—be it by bar/brothel owners, pimps, customers, or the police. Over the years, their self-concept takes a beating and they succumb unquestioningly to lives of abuse.

Managed and led by active and ex-sex workers, Empower uses a strategy to help sex workers organize themselves and realize improvements in their working conditions. Its first objective is to help these poor, often illiterate, outcasts build their self-esteem in the face of society's disrespect and their often-unhappy pasts. Confidence and awareness building include literacy, self-expression through drama, discussions, and ventilating of emotions. The plays serve the function of a powerful outreach tool to make contact with other sex workers and bring them into Empower's fold. Helping others is a central part of the individual sex worker?s own awakening and growth.

Empower also responds to sex workers' desire to escape a life where HIV/AIDS seems almost inevitable by offering alternative income sources, skills trainings, and counseling. Health education with HIV/AIDS as the focus is an ongoing program of first-order importance.

Project Leader: Suprihatin (Tina)
Organization: Blitar Migrant Worker Solidarity Organisation
Country: Indonesia
Target group: Migrant workers
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Corruption and Inadequate Government Policy

Working with Blitar Migrant Worker Solidarity Organisation, Suprihatin (Tina) is protecting Indonesian migrant workers' rights by putting into place a decentralized system of legal and administrative services that ensures procedural transparency and speedy, efficient settlement of cases. This opportunity for local recourse pushes local authorities and citizen groups to take more active responsibility for the well-being of migrant workers, resulting in the legal and social mainstreaming of the issues affecting this disenfranchised population.

Every day hundreds of workers leave rural Indonesia to work abroad. Too often this marks the passage into a terrifying life of torture, bondage, debt, and deception. Yet when they register complaints with the government or work agencies that sent them, they encounter only bureaucratic stonewalling. A highly centralized system clogs recourse channels. It also makes it impossible to check the corruption, with government officials and agencies colluding to siphon off funds meant for assisting workers. Near-zero success rates of trying to help workers win cases are a major disincentive for citizen sector organizations (CSOs), thus limiting their engagement in the field.

The new model aligns the interests of local government, agencies, and CSOs, making them collaborators in protecting migrant workers. A new legal framework brings agencies under local jurisdiction and requires them to pay registration fees to district authorities that must enter a fund dedicated for programs aiding workers. Moreover, the law requires these programs be co-initiated and co-managed by government and non-government bodies. For legitimate agencies the decentralization spells less red tape in initiating and conducting business. For government, revenue. For CSOs, capacity to serve workers better and so develop and expand.

Another Suprihatin-led program—House of Solidarity—is designing services for workers within the new localized framework, like pre-departure education, for example.

Project Leader: Marcelina Bautista
Organization: Center of Support and Training for Female Domestic Workers (CACEH),
Country: Mexico
Target group: domestic workers
Principle: Eliminating Otherness
Factor: Culture of Tolerance

Through her organization—the Center of Support and Training for Female Domestic Workers (CACEH)—Marcelina Bautista is spearheading the movement in Mexico to unite and elevate the social status of domestic workers and secure for them the rights enjoyed by other laborers. Through an inclusive program that engages different sections of the community as allies, equips workers with essential life skills, then facilitates the workers themselves to lead the movement, CACEH is transforming the way Mexican society reacts to domestic labor.

Over a million people work as domestic labor in Mexico but are denied legal rights guaranteed to other workers, such as fair wages and freedom from sexual exploitation. Consequently, they are subject to a wide range of labor and human rights abuses, including inhuman working hours and, for women, sexual exploitation by employers. Unrecognized by law, ignored and objectified by employers, and overlooked by citizen sector organizations, they constitute an invisible population lacking legal, social, or economic standing.

CACEH provides a range of capacity-building services to women domestic workers designed to make them promoters of their own rights. This includes training in legal rights, negotiation skills, advocacy, leadership development, collective action, and media management. It then encourages the women to take charge of the movement, recruit others, and start exerting pressure for policy changes. Simultaneously, by carefully orchestrated media campaigns and public events to raise the general level of awareness, CACEH is bringing the issues of domestic workers from behind closed doors to the centerstage of public space, placing them on the CSOs' radar and engaging an ever-expanding pool of stakeholders.

Bautista is involved with a Latin America-wide network of domestic workers and intends to use this to spread the CACEH model.