Apne Aap Women Worldwide (India) Trust

Works for reformation of lives of women trapped in prostitution by helping them evolve into self-respecting and empowered citizens

  • Bronze Certified 2023
  • FCRA
  • 80G
  • 12A
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  • Headquarters

    Kolkata, West Bengal

  • Since


Apne Aap was established by a collective of 22 women from Mumbai's red-light district, driven by a shared mission to envision a world free from the bu Read moreying and selling of women. Initially brought together as subjects of Ruchira Gupta’s Emmy-winning documentary, "The Selling of Innocents," spotlighting the trafficking of girls and women from Nepal to India, these women forged a bond during the film's production in 1996. United in their determination, they rebelled against their circumstances, finding strength in one another. Following the documentary, the group continued to convene in parks. Encouraged by the empowerment they experienced when united and driven by collective strength, they formed an organization to advance their vision. In 2002, Apne Aap became a registered NGO in Mumbai. Securing a room in an abandoned municipal school within the red-light district, a board member provided a secure space for the women. Initially serving as a refuge for conversations, rest, clothing repairs, bathing, and receiving mail, the room gradually transformed into a hub for meetings and educational sessions. Since its inception, Apne Aap's influence and reach have steadily expanded. Extending support to women ensnared in prostitution, the organization has conducted self-empowerment programs in Bihar, Delhi, and West Bengal, collaborating with local communities. Apne Aap's community centres now host self-empowerment groups nationwide, offering safe havens where thousands of girls and women gather, accessing education, enhancing livelihood prospects, and receiving legal rights education. The organisation’s theory of change draws inspiration from the Gandhian principles of Ahimsa (non-violence) and Antyodaya (upliftment of the last person). Ahimsa guides us to resist violence both towards oneself and others, while Antyodaya focuses on uplifting the most marginalized individuals, particularly the prostituted girls and women, who represent Antyodaya's "last person." The organisation’s mission is to bring an end to sex trafficking by deconstructing the system of prostitution. This is achieved by: 1. Broadening the options available to the most vulnerable and marginalized girls and women, especially those ensnared in intergenerational prostitution or belonging to lower-caste communities. The organisation provides avenues for education, healthcare, livelihood skills, legal protection, acquisition of citizenship documents, government support, and networks of companionship. 2. Discouraging the demand for sex through policy alterations and social transformation. Apne aap and supporters have successfully been able to get a law (Section 370 of the I.P.C) that recognizes the process of trafficking and forced prostitution as criminal and punishable activities. It is actively involved in proposing zero tolerance policy against sexual violence and creating survivor-friendly laws globally. Apne Aap has been raising alarms against increasing cases of sexual violence by conducting campaigns. It also files public interest litigation applications on child rights and on the state’s role in protecting individuals from being trafficked.


  • Supply side: The “organizing for independence” concept

    The organisation aims to integrate the last girl into the Apne Aap network, anticipating that she will acquire the Ten Assets within three to five years. These assets encompass both personal development and government recognition:
    • Safe space
    • Education
    • Self-confidence
    • Political empowerment
    • Official government identification
    • Government subsidies such as affordable food, housing, healthcare, and loans
    • Legal assistance for filing police complaints and testifying in court
    • Savings and bank accounts
    • Livelihood opportunities such as vocational training, access to markets, and employment
    • Forming nine friendships or joining a self-empowerment group
    These assets serve to diminish her vulnerability to trafficking or provide an exit strategy from prostitution by offering alternative paths that reduce reliance on the brothel system.

  • The four essential rights

    Legal protection – The organisation’s legal protection initiatives aid women and girls within Self Empowerment Groups (SEGs) by imparting comprehension of the criminal justice system's role in providing justice to trafficking victims.
    Education - At Apne Aap, the primary focus is to extract children, particularly girls, from red-light districts and slums, steering them towards mainstream education. Within accessible community classrooms located at local Apne Aap centers, skilled educators and members of women's Self Empowerment Groups identify, enroll, and oversee children's participation in educational programs.
    Respectable livelihood - The organisation has formulated a program empowering women and girls to establish economic and social cooperatives.
    Housing - By organising women with similar housing requirements, raising awareness about available resources, and assisting with logistical arrangements, the organisation strives to secure safe housing for them.

  • Cutting the demand

    By curbing the demand for purchased sex, the organisation aims to disrupt the operations of traffickers, pimps, and brothel owners, rendering their businesses unviable. The efforts extend beyond broadening the choices for victims to reduce the industry's "supply"; it actively works to diminish the demand. The persistent endeavours have led to substantial reductions in the size of red-light areas; for instance, the Rampur red-light area dwindled from 72 brothels to 5, Khawaspur from 17 to 1, and the Munshiganj area witnessed significant declines. The collective efforts of the women successfully advocated for the enactment of Section 370 of the I.P.C., that criminalizes the trafficking process.

  • The movement

    The organisation participates in movements against the marginalization of low-caste individuals, de-notified tribes, and girls and women. It takes a lead role in Dalit rallies, participates in organizing efforts for de-notified tribes, and actively joins anti-rape protests, demonstrating its commitment to these causes.

Leadership Team

  • Lata Bajoria


  • Raju Bharat


  • Namita Saraf

    Governing Board Member

  • Lekha Poddar

    Governing Board Member

  • Gloria Steinem

    Advisory Board Chair

Demographics & Structure

  • No. of Employees



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  • Ethics and Transparency Policies


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Political & Religious Declarations

  • On Affiliation if any


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Registration Details

  • PAN Card


  • Registration ID

    E-20422 (Mumbai)

  • 12A


  • 80G


  • FCRA


  • CSR Registration Number

    Not Available


Other Details

  • Type & Sub Type