While COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, it has been particularly disastrous for victims of sex trafficking and their children, many of whom were already barely making ends meet. More than 85 % report that they only have a few days of food/money on hand and that their housing is at risk. A preliminary assessment by several UN agencies indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic could contribute between 83 and 132 million people to the total number of trafficked humans.
The beneficiaries we serve face various marginalizations due to their caste, gender, occupation, and geographical location. Many of them also face intersecting discriminations, falling into more than one government list of caste and community. We have provided more than 12 million meals to half a million vulnerable women and girls in 8 states of India between March 2020 and June 2021. With the initial goal of 1 million meals for 10,000 victims of sex trafficking and their children in 100 days. Apne Aap’s impact has exceeded this target 12 times over and has surpassed the number of women and girls by five times and is continuing even after 500 days.
The food is in the form of dry ration kits with each kit having enough food for 100 meals. In addition, we put in soap, sanitizers, masks, and essential medicines like paracetamol and vitamins, as well as a quarter of a million sanitary pads. In addition, we provided 200 kits of school supplies including computers, laptops, and internet facilities that benefit the children that are victims of sex trafficking and the children of the women who are victims of sex trafficking.
I will share the story of sisters Arti and Varsha. Arti is in grade 9 and Varsha is in grade 12 both were provided a place to stay through Apne Aap. Due to the lockdown, they both had to return to their mother at home, located in a red-light district where they both faced many difficulties. After reaching out to Apne Aap a rented room was arranged for them to stay in, away from the red light district. After restrictions lifted, they were both able to attend school with the help of Apne Aap. Arti and Varsha were two of 6 million out of 230 million vulnerable children in India unable to go back to school before the help of Apne Aap. Help us aid the most at risk women and children in this devastating Covid pandemic.