Ruchira Gupta, founder and president of Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an NGO working against sex trafficking, has been honoured by the United Nations Association's New York Chapter.
The honour in recognition of "her unrelenting effort to end human trafficking, in particular the sexual exploitation of women and children" was conferred at the group's "Spring Luncheon" in New York City this week.
This year's theme of "Spring Luncheon" is women fighting against human trafficking and is inspired by the UN's recent launch of the Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking.
Apne Aap has worked for the last 25 years to end human trafficking by empowering girls and women to resist and escape sex slavery.
In 1992, while traveling in the hills of Nepal, Gupta discovered that poor girls were trafficked to Indian brothels from Nepal.
She then began a campaign to publicise the trade by making a documentary 'Selling of the Innocents' with a Canadian broadcasting team. The film won an Emmy in 1997 for outstanding investigative journalism.
Apne Aap started working in the slums of Mumbai and other cities by mobilising and mentoring community-based groups of trafficked and vulnerable girls and women to empower each other.
Today, the different centres of Apne Aap provide a safe space for girls and women. They also offer the opportunity to develop legal, education and livelihood training and skills that help these women resist traffickers.
Apne Aap has formed 146 groups and put 814 daughters of women in prostitution in school.