Sunitha Krishnan (she/her/hers) a recipient of the fourth highest civilian honor Padmashree is an eminent human rights activist and film-producer and is nationally and internationally known for her fight against sex crimes and trafficking of women and children for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation. As the co-founder of Prajwala, a pioneering anti-trafficking organization, she has been instrumental in rescuing thousands of victims from sexual slavery and restoring hope and dignity to their lives. Her anti trafficking interventions are considered as a best practice model in the world.
Born on 22nd May,1972 Ms Krishnan completed her Bachelors Degree in Environmental Science from St Josephs College of Arts & Science,Bangalore and Masters in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from Roshni Nilaya,Mangalore in 1995.
Ms Krishnan along with Bro Jose Vetticatil co-founded Prajwala, an Anti Human Trafficking in 1996. As the Chief Functionary and the founder General Secretary of the organization Ms Krishnan has been instrumental in evolving one of the most holistic rehabilitation programs for victims of sex trafficking. Spearheading the movement to end sex trafficking and sex crimes in India, Krishnan has demonstrated that it is possible to prevent and combat this heinous crime. Till date, through Prajwala’s education programs thousands of children of women in prostitution have been prevented from being inducted into flesh trade, and thousands of women and children have been rescued and rehabilitated from sexual slavery. Millions have been sensitized on the issue of human trafficking and for a victim centric approach.
In her efforts to bring in larger social transformation Sunitha Krishnan has pioneered various path breaking campaigns such as Movement Against Trafficking(MAT), Men Against Demand(MAD),the first ever campaign against sex offenders in the country #ShameTheRapistCampaign and ‘Swaraksha’ a community awakening caravan to counter trafficking.Ms Krishnan also founded the first ever survivor’s movement “Aprajitha” for survivors of sex trafficking.
Ms Krishnan has been at the forefront in bringing in policy changes and legal reforms for the welfare of victims of sex trafficking and sex crimes. She is one of the responsible persons for G.O.Ms.No.1, Dt31-01-2003, the first ever anti-trafficking policy in the country implemented by the State of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana .Ms Krishnan articulated, designed and implemented the Minimum Standards of Care for Safe Shelters for Sex trafficked Victims((G.O.Ms.No.16,Dt 24-04-2010) which is now adopted as a policy by Government of Andhra Pradesh,Telangana and Kerala.Her brain child ‘Nirbhaya’ the Kerala state policy in 2011 to fight sexual crimes and sex trafficking is widely recognized as a unique policy to fight this grievous crime holistically.
Ms Krishnan’s Public Interest Litigation in the Supreme Court has lead to the drafting of a Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Trafficking. At the State level Ms Krishnan has been responsible for the effective implementation of Juvenile Justice Act, setting up of Protection Homes and evolving a victim protection protocol for all stakeholders through her various PIL’s in the High Court.
For her lifetime efforts and achievements, Ms Krishnan has been recognized both nationally and internationally. Some notable honors received are CIVICUS Nelson Mandela Innovation Award in 2014,Living Legends Award from Human Symphony Foundation in 2013,DVF Exemplary Woman Award, Dianne Von Furstenberg Foundation in 2013,John Jay College of Criminal Justice International Leadership Award, New York in 2011,Human Rights Award, Vital Voices Global Partnership, Washington DC in 2011,Trafficking in Persons(TIP) Hero from US Department of State in 2009,CNN-IBN Real Hero Award,Reliance Foundation 2008,Perdita Huston International Award for Human Rights, United Nations of Capital Hill, Washington DC in 2006,Stree Shakti Puraskar, Government of India in 2003.”Naa Bangaaru Talli” a telugu feature film produced by Ms Krishnan won three national awards in 2014 and nine international awards. She was also recognized as 150 Fearless Women in the world by NEWSWEEK.