Ruchira Gupta was inspired to found Apne Aap after working closely with 22 courageous young women in prostitution in the brothels of Mumbai to make her Emmy Award-winning documentary, The Selling of Innocents. Ruchira has campaigned tirelessly to promote the leadership of survivors in the global fight to end trafficking – bringing groups of survivors to speak before the UN General Assembly in 2008 and 2009, elevating their voices to the highest levels of global policy. She has been honored with the Clinton Global Citizen Award in 2009, the UK House of Lords’ Abolitionist Award in 2007, an Emmy in 1995 and was recently featured in Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s bestseller Half the Sky.
Her most significant contribution to civil society, governments, and multi-lateral bodies like the United Nations has been to highlight the link between trafficking and prostitution and to lobby with policy makers on shifting the blame from the victim to the perpetrator. Ruchira has worked in the United Nations in various capacities for over ten years in Nepal, Thailand, Philippines, Kosovo, USA, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia and Iran. In some of these countries she has helped to develop National Action Plans on women’s empowerment and laws against human trafficking.