Sunitha Krishnan Makes Powerful Speech On Sex Trafficking At Home Of Hope’s Gala
India-West Staff Reporter
MILPITAS, CA – The Home of Hope 2023 Gala drew over 300 people who filled the India Community Center Hall here to support the cause and applaud the deserved.
The event began in a somber tone, honoring the life of Ashwin Bhavnani. Ashwin grew up volunteering for HOH along with his parent, Neelam Bhavnani, former President, and current Treasurer. At 33, said Noah Levin, a friend of Ashwin, he was diagnosed with primary CNS lymphoma and had a two-year battle with cancer. Ashwin then had a desire to aid children who may not receive the same medical care as he did and The Ashwin Bhavnani Cancer Foundation for Home of Hope was established by his family.
HOH President, Rita Sharma gave a heartwarming welcome address, highlighting the achievements of HOH through the years, which was greeted with thunderous applause.
HOH Founder Dr Nilima Sabharwal gave a stirring introduction of Dr. Sunitha Krishnan, the chief guest. Krishnan is a Padmashri awardee, recognized as one of the 150 ‘Fearless Women in the World’ by Newsweek and as a ‘Trafficking in Persons Hero’ by the US. She is also a recipient of the CNN-IBN Real Hero Award.
Her organization Prajwala has saved over 28,000 young from sex trafficking.
Since 2018, HOH education programs have empowered a few hundred girls in Prajwala. Many of those girls are now living their lives with personal and professional dignity, Sabharwal said.
Krishnan was given a standing ovation and pin-drop silence followed when she spoke. She informed the audience about those invisible “human monsters” who prey on girls as young as 3 years old, subjugate them into the horrendous flesh trade, and lure teenage girls under the pretext of a better life in urban areas. The girls are sold into sexual slavery. She stated that human trafficking involves adoption, organ trade, labor, circus, beggary, domestic work, camel jockeying, fertility clinics, surrogacy, and sex trafficking.
She recounted her own personal experience of being gang-raped at the age of 15. Now, she is 51 years old and still suffers from nightmares. She said, ‘Just imagine the suffering of those victims who are sexually exploited daily for years?’
Krishnan presented a powerful PowerPoint presentation highlighting the personal stories of young victims and how her organization Prajwala has saved them. She elaborated on the ‘Healing Journey from Victim to Survivor’ which involves healing the body, knitting the mind, and nurturing the soul. The audience remained silent and teary-eyed till the end.
The Youth Chapter’s award presentation was the highlight of the after-dinner program where the work done by the youth was highlighted.
The audience also enjoyed a Kathak recital by Noorani Dance.