Page last updated 2/03/2012
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Aanchal is a state level newly recognized, groundbreaking initiative designed to reach adolescent girls most vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. Aanchal provides a unique continuum of prevention, victim identification and intervention services. Aanchal offer providing training, prevention groups case coordination, and survivor mentoring to victims of exploitation. Since 2012. Aanchal targeted girls directly through our prevention groups and providing providers in Massachusetts and nationally, in a variety of locations including group homes, juvenile detention facilities, child protective services offices, schools, and other community based settings. Through our innovative approach, Aanchal is working to stem the tide of commercial sexual exploitation in the India.
About Commercial Sexual Exploitation
Girls are deceived, manipulated, forced or coerced into prostitution every day throughout the India. We know that the average age of entry nationally into the commercial sex industry is 12-15: middle school age. Domestic minor sex trafficking happens in all of our communities, in every corner of our country. Pimps, also known as traffickers, systematically target vulnerable girls by hanging out in places where they congregate: malls, schools, bus stations, all-age nightclubs, and group homes.
All girls are at risk of recruitment solely by their age and gender. However, a sub-population of adolescents are the most vulnerable: girls who've been sexually abused. Girls who have survived such abuse may demonstrate an overwhelming sense of shame, a profoundly low sense of self-worth, and an eagerness to find "love" and acceptance. The pimps who target and trap teen girls prey on these vulnerabilities, actively seeking abuse survivors, especially girls in the care of the state child protection system.
Commercially sexually exploited girls are consistently the victims of violence and degradation. They are beaten and raped by their pimps as well as the adults who are their "johns". For a large percentage of trafficked girls, this continued exposure to violence results in meeting the diagnostic criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Like soldiers returning from a war zone, these girls are damaged mind, body, and soul by their experiences. And yet, they must return to that war zone every night
The Aanchal Curriculum
As social workers, public health advisors, parents, and concerned citizens, we were determined to find ways to connect with victims and prevent future victimization.
First it was essential to research the national state of commercial sexual exploitation. We watched as the national media reported an alarming increase in the reported cases of commercial sexual exploitation.
As we got a clearer sense of the range of the problem, we reviewed what we had learned from other prevention efforts among adolescents (like HIV, teen pregnancy, violence). We looked at theoretical frameworks and paradigms for prevention from a social work and public health perspective using a gender-based lens.
We took what we had learned and created our own model of prevention, predicated on working with adolescent girls to shift their attitudes, knowledge, and skills.
We overlaid hours of survivor testimony/experience: what was really going on, what paths to exploitation looked like, what adult women said they wish they had known.
For more information on the Aanchal Curriculum, please contact: