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Sunitha Krishnan and Prajwala – Fighting for trafficked children

December 2009

The entire audience was silent after watching Sunitha Krishnan’s powerful TEDIndia talk on the issue of child sex trafficking in India in November this year.  People needed time to digest her message.

She spoke about the organisation Prajwala she began almost 15 years ago in Hyderabad, India, and its mission of helping trafficked children.  Prajwala finds, extracts, and supports women who are trafficked into prostitution as children. I visited her and Prajwala in Hyderabad after the conference to speak to her to understand more about it.

In conversation she displayed an intense, resolute determination, and selfless pride in the activities of the organisation.  She described a multipronged approach aimed at helping these children by providing equal parts psychological support, civic support, and vocational support. She made it clear that none of these approaches alone could achieve the desired outcome, which was full reintegration into their community.

Her organisation worked to table, and have civic compensation legislation for trafficked children passed through Andra Pradesh state parliament to enable their civic rehabilition.  This, she described, was crucial to having the children recognise themselves as victims rather than perpetrators, and crucially, have that same mindshift occur in the communities they were re-entering.

In addition, Prajwala has set up seventeen schools, educating the children through all stages of primary and secondary education.  I visited one of these schools and spoke to a few of the teenage girls, one of which was now in university completing a Bachelor of Commerce.

On the same grounds, they had vocational training workshops in metalwork and woodwork, and were running a printing enterprise. One of the most difficult aspects to deal with was the fact that approximately one out of three girls had contracted HIV prior to their arrival at Prajwala, and medical support was a significant challenge.

Sunitha has suffered both threatened and real physical abuse from the vested interests in child trafficking.  She has been attacked in fourteen separate incidents, and at the time of our meeting, was waiting for an operation required to fix her hearing, from a recent attempt on her life.

The consequences of Prajwala’s work is inspiring.  Over 3,500 children have received support, 600 of which have gone on to marry and have 46 children, who she affectionately described as her grandchildren.  This, by anyone’s standards, is a big achievement.

Watch her talk above to hear it in her own words.


Furniture made by the women at Prajwala

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  • lakxa

    you are doin an awesome job by helpin sch people who r traffikd n forcd to prostitn.i m very proud of you n i m seriously inspired by ur work…….i m lookin forwrd to meet u ………

  • Anu73

    It is very very difficult to help such people and I congratulate sunitha for that. Lord Krishna is only helping her to do this type of job and HE is there in her name itself.

  • Anonymous

    I can only say that Sunitha is one of those people who are sent from above to help us understand our lives.It is difficult indeed to help such people but as Sunitha shows us it is not impossible.We should take

  • Anonymous

    She’s a great example.

  • Sirisha Manoharan

    Sunitha.. You made me think the whole day ever since i saw your video….. I have been finding ways to conduct our activities more effective that what we (our set of volunteers) are able to do currently… but there has always been restrictions and questions around. You are a true inspiration.. for people like me who has the thought to help.. but the barriers to stop.. to give a daring spirit and support to break them and come out.

  • VT Rajan

    Sunitha, you are not a human being! You have evolved to a much higher plane! God bless you! I feel small and helpless and ashamed that we live in such a society! I dont know. I am just confused and do not know how to bring an end to all this. Wonder if it was always so and tht we get to know, cos of the media and TED,etc. How I wsh you also gave the mail ID of yr organization.

  • American Rag

    I look up to Sunitha for her courage and strength to help children being dragged into prostitution. What she is doing is more than commendable, her crusade is not easy I know. I give her my highest respects.

  • Sandy

    I am out of words to appreciate Prajwala!! Excellent work done by a
    woman, these type of women are needed in the society to decraese the
    child sex trafficking and to increase the economical conditions of
    people!! the furniture made by the childs at Prajwala looks great..
    Finally I pray to god to bless her and be with her on every work she
    does for child trafficking. 

  • Travelingjim

    I have not heard of many men who did better. Prajwala really made a difference in providing other options for these kids. I travel a lot and the world needs more people like her… like in Thailand.

    Jim P.

  • Em Rao

    Prajwala did a great job.
    She is running this organization from along time with quite great zeal and zest. I appreciate her effort.The way she raised the voice against this child sex. 

  • Carrie Glisson

    The video just left me speechless. The world would be a better place if we had Sunitha’s running around.


  • Julia Seymour

    Sunitha is so brave to fight for the benefit of trafficked children and holding steadfast to this cause, even most of the time this would possibly cost her her very own life. I salute women like her. May God bless her with protection and wealth so she may continue this advocacy. 

  • Emma hart

    I applaud Sunitha and those like her for protecting the millions of abused women and children around the world. I can only imagine how hard it must be for her to go through day to day.

    I wish the organization all the best and I hope that they do get some recognition as well as government support for their work.

  • Nikhil Harindranath

    Glad to see this here… I am doing my bit by writing about Prajwala too. You can find it here –> God bless you all…

  • Pingback: Sunitha Krishnan, founder of Prajwala, TEDTalks | PrattSIDE

  • navin sata

    we all as humanrace can help to resolve this condition of children and womens in every part of our world . sunitha needs support and resources to carry on her mission please think of those childrenyou can this christmas season and everyday of life help anyway

  • Dinesh

    Fine, Go on.., also you should involve in ” Muslim ladies ” problem like , Compulsary wearing of Burgha. Because Burgha is the dress wearing in Middles east countries to escape from Dust during wind. There Men are also wearing ” Kandhoora ” . But in India the ladies are forced to wear Burgha. Mainly because of  ” Men’s complex ” .

  • Priyangaamy

    your life is for them i to i love to do that  god bless you all

  • Priyangaamy

    me to lakxa

  • Minisoudhamini

    you are doing an excellent job. Iam from cochin and i would like to join with you. please contact me.

  • Bennymat

    God bless you and Prajwala dear Sunitha… we are with you and all suffering women and girls..

  • Uday

    i will be glad if i can help such peoples.i am proud of you prajwalaji/sunithaji.i am a herbal product marketer in karnataka nd goa state under the banner of sri sai marketing.and appoint district wise medical representatives who’s job is to promote our products to DR’S if anybody from your team is ready to work in this field ,we are ready to welcome.they can have good earning,good life,social life,and recognition too with safety.if you feel okey then please reply me to

  • swetha

    Hi.. I am Swetha. I am really willing to support the team. I stay in Hyderabad. I will be very grateful if I can be of any help to the team.

  • Bolloju Ravi

    hats of to u mam
    can u give me ur office number
    i want to do something for ur organization,
    i am not a rich man,
    but i will do something………

  • Raju manariya

    Hi, my self raju manariya i m really willing to support them. and i want to do somethings for them please send me address i want do something in part time. i will be very grateful if i can be of any help of them.

    raju manariya 
    e-mail address is

  • Sahith


    iam sahith. you r doing an great job iam willing to join with u and ur team. i would be very happy that i can be any help to u. and a stay in hyderabad 

  • Seema goswami

    i saw u first time on satyamav jayate u r a real human we all feel sorry for these womens but doing for them really need coureage thank u i know god will help u acive ur goal love u

  • sweta

    Hi, I want to be a part of your team and to serve those women and children. I am from Patna. My email id:

  • Soni mishra

     hi i m soni mishra and i saw u first time on satyamav jayate u r a real human i leav in mumbai.i will be very greatful if i can be help of team and prajwlaji aur sunitaji main chahti hu ki apki santha ke sath main bhi jur saku aur meri ek request hain aapse ki aap sifr hydrabad main hi nhi aur bre sahro main bhi apni santha khole……  

  • monika sharma

    u r doing a great job,I saw u first time on aap ne kiya hai ya kar rahi hai uske liye sabd nahi hai karna cahti hu women ,children ke liye .ek bar apse baat karna cahti hu kya koi contact no hai. dil ko chu gaya hai sab kuch.

  • Shirsatmadhura

    HI I am madhura , I am willing to support your project…. I stays at mumbai………..I Will be thankful if I can help u by any means……

  • Skv_ari

    hi! i am krishna and stay in bangalore.can i join your organisation?

  • A Ninareddy

    Hi sunita
    Heard about you from dr prithikachary the renowned neurosurgeon of chennai.
    We run an organisation called the duchess club at chennai. The club is eleven years old with a membership of three hundered women.. All belonging to different walks of life evolving with the help of inspiring speakers who make time to be at the monthly meetings. We request you to be at our
    meeting in the month of January. Please check our web site to know more about us ms sunita. We believe that you can inspire our members and even enlighten us on personal safety for ourselves as well as so many others who we are in touch with.. Women and children. Please respond to our request and also tell us how we can support the foundation that you started..prajwala.
    Hoping to hear from you
    Nina reddy
    President duchess club chennai

  • Anonymous

    Hi Nina,

    Prajwala’s contact details are up at


  • Vallinischala

    Very inspired .. Great work akka.. I have volunteered for many ngo s and i wud like to meet you and work with you.. I will call u and take an appointment..

    @some people who want to volunteer .. Pls dont expect them to call you.. If you really want to contribute your time or money just google prajwala and u will get the contact details

  • Simplyniti

    plz get in touch i would like to support in anyway

  • Suresh M Nagvenkar


    I can imagine & feel the mental agony/pain that a rape victim goes thro’ after horrific incident in her later part of life, but why should the victim carry the feeling of humiliation through out her life in our society while the perpetrators of crime lead decent life and they go on humiliating the victim. At times it seems that society is losing sensitivity, this is because wrong values are being given importance. Earlier the importance was given to values, virtues, background, education and most important the character of a person/family and his standing in the society was based on this, now we see exactly opposite. The most corrupt and people who have amased wealth thro, illegal way are honoured, they are allowed to share dais and preside over functions where students , young generations are given awards for their achievements. What message do we give to the society?

    I have heard people say that if you go into the private life of some (majority) of the our politicians & eminent personalities, we will be shocked, they also indulge in this activities when staying in hotels. We observe some people try to help poor ladies, girls, widows monetarily or otherway but the expect & try to extract in return in the form of physical way. Can’t you help her as a sister ? Imagine if she were your sister/mother.

    We do not have to be pessimestic, people like you, one in Orissa who takes care of those lost persons and one young (muslim) chap who works for women who are sold and exploited will given direction vision to this country and its young generation

    Media electronic & others, not only them we all should highlight the work you all are doing silently and not bank-balances or the persons who names appear in the list of richpersons in Forbes magazine.They advertise their social work in mass media. As Vivekanadji had said, No Indian has right to live in luxury, till the last person of this country does not sleep hungry and his basic needs are fulfilled.

    We some were lost track of the vision of our great wariours, our great leaders, freedom fighters and going in the wrong direction. See the state of education, jobs, giving pension to retired persons & ex servicemen their dues who have sacrificed their life for our and nation security and numerous others. If you cannot respect the right of your own fellow citizens, then what progress you are going to make.

    People say you have to always fight for your right, I say the other way, the rightful should come naturally to the deserved person without any obstacles the constitution must also have certainly guarranted it.

    If individuals in position of authority realise and are made to change their attitude and way of thinking that it is their duty and they are not doing any favour, then things will changes.

    We as individuals try to make change in our way of functioning at places of work and surroundings in a small way, things will change for the better. Let us individually do our job honestly, sincerely in small way and this all together will to make a major change for people of this country. Why I say this because someday in future, our country will show the path and guide other nations toward love and compassion to their fellow citizens.

    I conclude by saying that right values and helping others have to be given the due respect.

  • sindhura

    hi ma”am
    im dr sindhura n and i watched ur programme in a news channel n i was really very inspired n moved by ur experiences with life and d way u r rendering services to womanhood.proud to have people like u ma”am.i hav been waiting for a chance to serve people n aftr i saw ur programme i felt god showed me the way..

  • Moin King

    Sunitha Krishnan ji big salute your good job

  • nevethitha adhavan

    Hi..I am Nevethitha Adhavan…i m really happy for you and at least i can see women giving hands to women….i would like to rise my hand to help for further project…i m glad if i can be one among them to help…

  • suganya

    your doing great job mam…I am also ready to support you in anyway …

  • Munagala Sruthi

    haii i am sruthi willing to help the team of prajwala i am so proud about sunitha mam who came across and saving the girls generation which was going in faulse track iam proud to be the follower of her who was the mean for india i wish to work in this foundation from distance as volunteer how can i go ahead can u help me please….