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The Karuna Project - A chance at a better life by empowering women survivors rescued from trafficking

Karuna means “compassion”. The word comes from the Sanskrit word kara, meaning “to do” or “to make,” indicating an action-based form of compassion, rather than the pity or sadness. It means an action that is taken to diminish the suffering of others and it could also be called as "compassionate action."

Through our Karuna project we empower and enrich lives of the women survivors to support themselves by giving them skill training and job opportunities as a means to support their families through their own entrepreneurship and to reinforce independence, boost self-esteem and restore confidence that allows them to regain control of their lives and helps them to live a meaningful life in their society with dignity, respect, and freedom.

Prostitution is big business. Human trafficking is the trade of humans for the purpose of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker. The International labor organization estimates that there are 4.5 million people trapped in forced sexual exploitation globally. Almost 20,000 women and children were victims of sex trafficking in India in 2016 alone, a 25% rise from the previous year. NGOs working to rescue these women and girls have also noticed a shift in demand in recent years from girls aged 14-15 to girls aged 9-10. Factors contributing to the problem include poverty, lack of livelihood opportunities, deep-rooted gender discrimination, and displacement. Sex trafficking remains a significant problem in India’s extensive commercial sex industry.

Forced labor is India's largest trafficking problem. Inherited from previous generations, the men, women, and children in debt bondage are sometimes forced to work in small cottage industries which end in sex slavery. The sex traffickers prey on the vulnerable, promising them jobs in another city only to sell them as slaves and lock them up in brothels.

We work directly with the NGOs that help survivors by giving skill training in handcraft techniques such as block printing and allowing them to earn a sustainable living wage. A highly immersive, sensory experience, the act of block printing by hand helps survivors heal by also using the color therapy. Banging on the fabric gives the women and girls strength from the daily battle of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse that they have to fight even after being rescued.

The sale of these Scarves and Bags empowers the women to support themselves with a positive income, giving them a sense of independence and confidence. When they are first rescued, many are too traumatized even to talk. But in the following months to years, and with a lot of therapy and support, they can start loving themselves again and find meaning in their lives.

Want to be a part of the solution? Support our Karuna Project to give a second life to these survivors.

You, too, can help the survivors by making a purchase as every OMSutra Karuna scarf and Shakti Yoga Mat Bag is providing work for a woman who has left the darkness of the night. Shop for Karuna Scarf and Shakti Mat Bag.

Together we can make a difference and end slavery and sex trafficking in India and around the world!