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Empowering Lives: Lessons from the Streets of Kolkata

Kolkata, India women
Kolkata, India

In the summer of 2016, I embarked on a transformative journey that exemplifies the profound benefits of travel, learning, and the immense impact one individual can have in the lives of others.

This pivotal adventure took me to the vibrant streets of Kolkata, India, where I delved deep into the heart of a culture rich in history and complexity. It was here, amidst the bustling Red-Light district, that my passion for understanding and aiding marginalized communities truly came to life.

Traffic Streets of Kolkata

Our class frequented the Red-Light district, immersing ourselves in an organization that had evolved significantly since its inception in 1992. What began as a humble initiative to distribute condoms, aiming to curb the spread of HIV, had blossomed into a beacon of hope. By the time of my visit in 2016, this organization had broadened its scope, not only empowering sex workers to reclaim their autonomy and safety, but also extending a protective embrace to their children.

Children playing on the Streets of Kolkata

My research during this time focused on safeguarding women and children from the clutches of human trafficking. It was here that I confronted a stark reality - families driven to sell their own children to traffickers in a desperate bid to secure food and shelter. What struck me profoundly was the glaring gap in efforts to aid trafficked women, as compared to the more prevalent focus on rescuing children from this harrowing predicament.

three poor people sitting on the ground Lessons from the Streets of Kolkata

Lessons from the Streets of Kolkata not only broadened my horizons, but also ignited a fervent commitment to advocating for the rights and well-being of those in need, leaving an indelible mark on my path forward. It underscores the urgency for increased support and resources for women ensnared in the web of human trafficking, a cause that remains close to my heart.

If you're seeking support to transition out of street work, please know that I'm here and ready to help you.


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