"As a young woman I grew up in a Gandhi Socialist household with constant meetings on how to definite and tackle inequality of all kinds, cast, gender, etc. I was asked to speak at these meetings. As a 15 year old, my opinions were sought and listened to seriously. This taught me that my voice and my ideas were important. As a writer I wanted to expose what was unfair in the world so I started on the path to be a journalist. I went to the editor of the local paper and asked for a job. Too keen to begin, I was told to first become a graduate, so I studied 9am - 3pm and worked for the local paper 3pm - 11pm. During my time as a journalist I quickly became aware that events that happened to women were discarded to “cultural” sections and those that impacted men were labeled “political”. I determined that I would insert women’s voices into political reporting. I covered stories of women during cast conflicts in Bihar, political campaigns in UP and arms struggles in the North East. Meanwhile Nepal was undergoing a movement for restoration for democracy I knew a lot of the political leaders because they lived in exile in my house. I felt a responsibility to cover the stories and be part of the activism. My work from Nepal would be banned because I was reporting on what the democrats were doing. While covering a story in UP about the Babri mosque and witnessing the barbaric outcomes, I was attacked as a reporter and a woman. I came back and testified and that’s when I learned about misogyny first hand. During the trial I was blamed for clothes I was wearing and had to fight through a lot of such questions. Once back in Nepal I began noticing girls and women were missing from the villages so as a journalist I asked where they were and the answer changed my life. “Don’t you know they are all in Bombay?”. I discovered a smooth supply chain that existed between Nepal and Bombay. There was the local village procurer, the corrupt border guard, the transporter, the pimp, the brothel manager, the money lender, the landlord and finally the customer. Then I realized that in my lifetime, in my country a modern day slavery existed. I decided to make a documentary on it, spent lot of times in brothels of Bombay watching girls of 8 - 13 yrs being sold to multiple customers per night locked up in small rooms. I was awarded the Emmy but it didn’t feel quite relevant so I quit journalism and did two things, with 22 women in prostitution I set up Apne Aap Worldwide which completes its 15th year in 2016. Second I started helping UN develop laws and policies around sexual exploitation. While running Apne Aap I was posted by UN to Thailand, Nepal, Kosovo, Washington DC, Iran to work on laws and policies against human trafficking policies.
Though my journey began as journalist and someone who would expose injustice against women, I now find myself to be an active participant, standing shoulder to shoulder with women to change their lives and my own in the process."
Activist Writer Speaker Teacher Scholar Filmmaker Grassroots Organizer
Give to Apne Aap
Founded by twenty-two courageous women in prostitution, who had a vision for a world where no woman could be bought or sold, Apne Aap Women Worldwide is determined to make their vision a reality.