New York event raises money to combat sex trafficking in India 

Neel Nadkarni
by Indian American singer Neel Nadkarni (right) performing at the Manhattan fundraiser.

The money will support Prajwala India, founded in 1996 by Sunitha Krishnan.

Women’s rights advocate Priti Dewan hosted an event in Manhattan on September 8 to raise awareness about victims of sex trafficking in India and funds to support their rehabilitation.

More than 40 guests, among them, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists attended the event at the Sky Lounge at Halcyon Residence.

The gathering — which discussed the need to bring awareness to the continuous cycle of sexual abuse in India, and establish methods for victims to rehabilitate, joining India’s infrastructure —  was invitation based, and served as a community builder and a preview to future events for the initiative.

Prajwala, an Indian non-governmental organization based in Hyderabad, campaigns for eradicating forced prostitution and sex trafficking. The organization works in the areas of prevention, rescue, rehabilitation, reintegration and advocacy to combat sex trafficking and restore dignity to victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

“We need to address the demand side of sex trafficking in order to have a serious impact in its abolition,” said Dewan, who hosted the Manhattan event. “On a more complex level, we need to do a better job of spotting signs and must change our attitude and dialogues we engage in. Best said by 18th century slave abolitionist, William Wilberforce, ‘You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.’”

Prajwala Board Member, Venkatesh Raghavendra spoke about the work of the organization. “You being here to support this cause is greater than you can imagine,” he said. “Your dollar is helping women who spent the majority of their lives as victims of abuse, rebuild and restore, establishing a brighter future for them and future generations.”

Guests were treated to catering provided by Desi Galli, and live music by Indian American singer Neel Nadkarni.

Prajwala was founded 1996 by Dr. Sunitha Krishnan and Jose Vetticatil more than two decades ago.

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