Sex Trafficking Victims In India Are Being Given An Opportunity Few Have Had Before

Now, they'll have the power.

Former sex trafficking victims in India are getting brighter futures thanks to a new program that is helping them to pursue careers in law.

According to marketing and communications agency J. Walter Thompson, in 2015, there were a total of 1.2 million children who had been coerced into the country's sex industry — but only 55 cases that successfully led to convictions against those responsible.  

That ratio, the agency contends, perpetuates the problem: to protect potential future victims and to rescue those currently trapped, traffickers need to be convicted for their crimes.

Free A Girl Movement, an international organization that works to free young girls from prostitution in Asia, Brazil, and the Netherlands, partnered with J. Walter Thompson to launch the aptly named School for Justice

The school officially opened on April 6 and its first class features 19 former sex workers who range in age from 19 to 24. The agency writes that there is much more to the program than what people might think: "The School for Justice is more than a physical school; it's an entire program 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." For most of the women, the full course of study will take five or six years.

According to J. Walter Thomas, few traffickers face conviction in part because there's a lack of lawyers and judges who are knowledgeable about child prostitution, which means few women have the opportunity to testify against their traffickers.

"Rescued girls do not understand the legalities of the case such as what sections of the law were applied and why," Tapoti Bhowmick, an education advocate for child trafficking survivors, told Reuters.

The School for Justice could change that, and in doing so shake up the status quo that perpetuates India's human trafficking problem. It will also give sex trafficking survivors a new chance to succeed.

(H/T: Adweek)

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