Ruchira Gupta is a journalist, activist, and policymaker who has worked relentlessly for the past 25 years to end human trafficking and to empower some of the most marginalized girls and women in the world. She is best known for leading girls and women in prostitution to advocate for their own change though Apne Aap Women Worldwide, a community-based initiative in India that builds up the capacity of girls and women through small “self-help” group structures.
Apne Aap has had overwhelming success in assisting thousands of women and girls working in prostitution, transforming them from victims into leaders. Employing its strategy of learning, livelihood and legal protection , the organization has enrolled 2,500 children of women in prostitution in school, offered over 7,500 women survivors skills in small business management, and has trained more than 1,097 police officials in Bihar and Maharashtra to fight trafficking.
In addition to her work with Apne Aap, Ruchira provides policy support to the Government of India, and the United Nations. In 2009 and 2008, Gupta addressed the UN General Assembly on human trafficking and took the first ever panel of survivors of trafficking to speak at the UN. She has been awarded the Clinton Global Citizen Award for leadership in civil society (2009), the Bharat Nirman Award (2009), the Abolitionist Award (2007) at the UK House of Lords and the Emmy for outstanding investigative journalism (2005).
She played an important role in the passage of the US Trafficking Protection Bill through her first-hand testimony to the US Senate on the flesh trade. She has worked in the United Nations for the last ten years and helped the Government of Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Kosovo and Philippines to develop National Action Plans and laws against human trafficking. She has written two anti-trafficking manuals for police officials and prosecutors developed with UNODC and UNIFEM.
Her work has been cited in the following books: Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristoff and A. Wu, Revisiting India by Ramin Jehanbegloo, Sale by Patricia McCormick, That Takes Ovaries by Rivka Solomon, Adventure Divas by Holly Morris, Ten Thousand Miles without a Cloud by Sun Shun Yun, Breaking the Earthenware Jar by Ruth Hayward, and In the name of Ram By Abid Surti. Documentaries that she has worked on include:
a) Paul Merton in India, BBC, Channel 5, UK, 2008
b) Land of the Missing Children, Channel 4, UK, 2005, on teenage sex-slavery in India.
c) Saffron Warriors, Channel 4, UK, 2003 on Nazi style Hindu fundamentalism in India
d) Rape for Profit. (Life in the Mumbai Brothel): News Night, BBC-1999
e) Kali’s smile: Radio 4, BBC documentary on role of Gods and goddesses in Indian popular culture. 1998
f) Shiva's wedding: Radio 4, BBC documentary on role of Gods and goddesses in Indian popular culture. 1998
g) The Selling of Innocents. (On sex-trafficking from Nepal to Mumbai, India): Documentary screened on CBC and HBO. Awarded the EMMY for outstanding investigative journalism by the United States Academy for Television Arts and Sciences in 1997 and used by NGOs, activists, government agencies as educational material to combat trafficking. -1997
h) Zero Hour. A 13 episode Indian Quiz show with Parliamentarians. BITV 1994
i)The Brotherhood. The RSS, BBC, 1993