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Rescuing underage girls out of India’s brothels ‘legally’

Apr 14, 2017

With the aim of taking underage girls out of India’s brothels and into the courts of law, world’s first School for Justice opens in India.

New Delhi: To counter the menace of forced prostitution in India, the Free a Girl Movement, a coalition of local organisations dedicated to rescuing girls from forced prostitution, has announced the opening of the world’s first School for Justice – an educational institution.The School for Justice is working with one of India’s most respected law universities to offer this unique programme.

The School for Justice 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.

An estimated 1.2 million children are pushed into the abyss of forced prostitution in India – which means that India has the largest amount of child prostitutes in the world. Out of those 1.2 million cases, only 55 legal cases led to convictions in 2015.

The School for Justice 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 eventually persuade the government to become Public Prosecutors with the power and determination to leverage India’s legal system for seeking justice.

Bollywood actor and activist Mallika Sherawat, who is an ambassador of Free a Girl Movement, has extended her full support and commitment for The School for Justice.

Mallika Sherawat said that underage-girls forced into prostitution, is a problem that could not be ignored any longer. “It’s the organized 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.”

“To break this cycle, we will attack a key factor: the fact that the perpetrators are not being punished. Because they are not punished, they can continue with their crimes. I ask you to support the School for Justice to help the victims turn their anger at this injustice into a force for good – and a furious determination to put everyone involved in child prostitution behind bars,” she added.

Francis Gracias, CEO and spokesperson, Free a Girl Movement, said that 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. Ultimately we want governmental support to seek law reforms to make a positive change in our country in this regard,” he said.

In India, many underage girls end up working in brothels against their will with some of them barely being seven years of age. They are tortured until they agree to cooperate with the offender. These victims are forced to have sex, in some cases with 20 different men each day.

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