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Map of India

Where We Work : India

Country Profile

Population 1.24 billion
People living on less than 1 euro a day 29.8%
Human Development Rank 136/187
GNI per Capita US$3285
Infant Mortality (per 1,000 births) 47
Life Expectancy 65
Literacy Rate 61%
HIV/AIDS Prevalence 0.3%
Living with HIV and AIDS 2.4 million
Global Hunger Ranking 63 (21.3) Alarming

India is home to, arguably, the best food in the world. It’s the second most populous nation in the world with more than 1 billion people. Proud of its ability to maintain unity amid diversity, this country has more than 300 tribes speaking some 1,600 languages and dialects.

Needs and Challenges

  • One third of the world’s poor are located in India; that accounts for 400 million people.
  • 43% of children are malnourished, a third of the world’s total.
  • Over 35% of Indians are illiterate and more than 20 million children are out of school.
  • 12% of children in India are involved in child labour.

As one of the BRIC countries, India is fast emerging as a global economic powerhouse, yet by and large growth is not trickling down to the 400 million poor. India’s huge social and economic disparity, the spread of HIV and its ever increasing environmental challenges are most pronounced in its megacities. In Mumbai, the majority of the population survive in slums or on the streets. 130 million children are considered ‘at risk’, 43 per cent are malnourished and 20 million do not attend school. Against this backdrop, families are tempted to sell their children and children as young as six years old end up in the sex trade or become one of the 12% of children involved in child labour.

Tearfund’s work focuses on Mumbai, India’s capital and most populous city; addressing human trafficking and sexual exploitation, supporting women and children who voluntarily leave the Red Light Area (RLA), helping them holistically to transition out of exploitation. Tearfund’s work also focuses on supporting people living with HIV and AIDS on the streets and in the shanties of Mumbai.

Read more about these projects below.


Interventions for Women and Children in Trafficking and Prostitution

Project Start Date: April 2011

Local Partner: Oasis India

Project: The focus of this project is to address human trafficking and sexual exploitation in Mumbai in the context of poor quality aftercare and a high incidence of re-trafficking of rescued women and children. The programme addresses the issue of a lack of alternatives for women wishing to leave prostitution voluntarily as well as the vulnerability of children in the Red Light Area (RLA). Oasis India provides residential care to women who have voluntarily left situations of sexual exploitation as well as those referred from Government protective homes. Women receive care and rehabilitation, they are provided with counselling, medical and health advice, information on HIV and AIDS and sexual health. They are given opportunities to receive training and education with the hope of securing jobs and a new livelihood so they can provide for themselves.

This project takes into account the multiple and complex needs of people who are involved in the sex industry as well as the many barriers that prevent people from leaving it. Many women and children have been trafficked and sold into prostitution or have been tricked into it with promises of a job and an income. With only 4 out of 10 girls who enrol in school completing 8 years of schooling, many women have been left with no other choice but to enter the sex trade as there are so few options available to them.

Key Achievements:

  • Regular visits were made by staff to the Red Light Area (RLA) and to Government Homes to outreach to women, men and children and build relationships that are crucial to the work of the project in encouraging people to leave prostitution.
  • Training facilitated in Life Skills, Health Awareness, Nutrition, HIV/AIDS, Sexual Health, Problem Solving, Literacy, English etc.
  • Training sourced and provided in areas such as tailoring, jewellery making, beauty care and diamond polishing. Thus providing women with the training and skills to seek alternatives to prostitution.
  • An alumni has been organised so that women who have left prostitution are able to help each other when needs arise, thus creating sustainability and empowerment.
  • Through Life Skills sessions many women were encouraged not to return to the sex trade and some helped police to identify traffickers.
  • Children from the RLA have started to go to school and participate in extracurricular activities; this therefore keeps them off the streets and in education.
  • Through all of the above interventions many women have left the sex trade and vulnerable women, men and children are continually encouraged and guided to seek an alternative life where they are free to seek and reach their God given potential.

The Numbers

  • 2472 people have been served by this project thus far.
  • Contact was made with 90-100 children in the Red Light Area.
  • Contact was made with 950 women in the RLA.
  • 1005 people received health and nutrition intervention.
  • 269 people received basic education and literacy.