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10 April 2017 at 10:36 BST

School launched to turn former child sex workers into lawyers

The Free a Girl Movement has opened up the first of a kind school to educate former victims of child prostitution in law in order to create the public prosecutors to challenge India's legal system from within.

Saiyood Srikamon

Initially, 19 girls are being enrolled in the School for Justice, with a larger class for 2018 already in the works with the main purpose of bringing perpetrators to justice. Of a staggering 1.2 million children estimated to be working in prostitution in India, only 55 legal cases were brought to court in 2015. Girls as young as seven years are abducted from their homes and sold to human traffickers. It is largely accepted that a lack of good lawyers and judges with knowledge of human trafficking and child prostitution impacts the amount of convictions in India. 

Can not ignore the problem

Bollywood actor and activist Mallika Sherawat, an ambassador of Free a Girl Movement, was quoted as saying: ‘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, right here in Mumbai, Delhi and other cities in India. By freeing the girls, we’re not changing the system that allows this crime to happen. To break this cycle, we need to attack a key factor: that the perpetrators are not being punished.’

Ambitious project

Francis Gracias, Free a Girl Movement CEO said: ‘The School for Justice is an ambitious project – the class of 2017 is just the first step in our plan. We want all of India to get behind The School for Justice and support our cause – as we can’t do this alone. Ultimately we want governmental support and to build up a robust advocacy programme to push for law reform to make a positive change for India.’


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