In order to counter the impunity of child prostitution India, Free a Girl Movement, a coalition of local organisations working for rescuing girls from forced prostitution, today announced the opening of the School for Justice, an educational institution. The School aims at fighting the injustice of child prostitution by educating girls rescued from child prostitution to become lawyers and prosecutors with the power to prosecute the criminals that once owned them.
The School is both a school and an education programme for girls from all school levels to offer the support, tuition and mentoring that they need to reach university level. Once at that level they will study to get to their Bachelors in Law – to ultimately persuade the government to become public prosecutors with the power and determination to leverage India’s legal system to seek justice. The School is working with India’s law universities to offer this unique programme.
In India, many underage girls end up working in brothels against their will; some are barely seven years of age. They are tortured until they agree to cooperate with the offender. These victims are forced to have sex, sometimes with 20 different men each day.
According to a study, an estimated 1.2 million children are pushed into the abyss of forced prostitution in India – which means that India has the largest number of child prostitutes in the world. Out of those 1.2 million cases, only 55 legal cases led to convictions in 2015.
Bollywood actor Mallika Sherawat, who is also the ambassador of Free a Girl Movement, said, “Underage girls forced into prostitution is a problem that we simply can’t ignore any longer. It’s the organised and systematic rape of young girls, happening on a mass scale. Girls, sometimes as young as 7 or 8, are forced into this life. By freeing the girls, we’re not changing the system that allows this crime to happen. The fact that the perpetrators are not being punished. It encourages them to continue with their crimes. Thus, the need of the hour is to break this cycle by ensuring punishment for them.”
“The School for Justice is an ambitious initiative – the class of 2017 is just the first step in our plan. We want to cultivate a culture that punishes the criminals behind child prostitution by educating and empowering the victims to become lawyers with the legal power to seek justice. We appeal to all of India to get behind the School and support our cause – as the girls can’t do this alone. Ultimately we want governmental support to seek law reforms to make a positive change in the country in this regard”, said Francis Gracias, CEO, Free a Girl Movement.
Beside a school, The School for Justice is a programme to educate girls that are rescued from child prostitution to become lawyers and prosecutors with the power to prosecute the criminals that once owned them. The school opens on April 6, 2017 with the first batch of 19 girls.
The Free a Girl Movement raises awareness and local resources for its partner organisations. The School for Justice is the first campaign fighting the impunity of offenders of child prostitution. The Movement is an initiative of the international NGO, Free a Girl.