Navjeevan – A Project with underprivileged women and children
India’s commercial-sex industry generates revenues of up to $343+ billion a year (according to a 2014 report by the network Global March Against Child Labour). There has been an increase in HIV prevalence that was statistically significant in the two neighboring districts of the metropolis, Mumbai, and Thane, where it rose sharply from 24% in 2006 to 31% in 2009. Among women, who reported entering sex work within the last year, HIV increased from 8% to 16% in Thane, while remaining at 19% in both rounds in Mumbai (A paper published in BioMed Central).
A study by the non-governmental International Justice Mission (IJM), Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Mumbai, mapped nearly 10,000 commercial sex workers in more than 1,000 brothels, and about 200 sex workers operating from private establishments. There are no official records for the numbers of women and children working in prostitution, but estimates make harrowing reading with some saying that between 300,000 and 500,000 prostitutes in India are children, i.e., 40% of the industry between the age of 10 to 14 years. This is the darkest side of the otherwise, a very progressive and enthusiastic city, that thousands of young girls are forced into prostitution by organized human trafficking syndicates.
Once in the trade, there is no escape and they are subjected to physical and mental torture if they refuse to abide by the wishes of the keeper. The children who were born there ended up as prostitutes or became part of the allied activities of the sex trade.
The Navjeevan Centre, an undertaking of the Marthoma Church, works in Kamathipura, dealing with various aspects such as dealing with health awareness with special focus on AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, providing counseling services, de-addiction programs, skill development and training, taking care of the children of the CSEWs by providing full time care, protection and education through the day/night care shelters or residential homes away from the red light area and helping them to build their own lives and future.
Over the last 25 years, Navjeevan Centre has made a huge impact on the lives of many children and their families. It provides a ray of hope to a better life by the empowerment of the women and their children and advocating and campaigning for the rights of these underprivileged women and their children.