Sunitha Krishnan is the founder of Prajwala – Asia’s largest institution combating commercial sexual exploitation. Since its inception in 1996 at Hyderabad, Sunitha has assisted in the rescue of more than 26,600 young girls and women who are victims of sex trafficking across 12 countries and ensured holistic rehabilitation through a series of trauma informed protection services. Recipient of the fourth highest Indian Civilian Honor- Padma Shri and recognized as 150 “Fearless Women in the World’ by Newsweek, Sunitha envisions a world free of sex trafficking and sex crime and has galvanised her vision by confronting traffickers, supporting survivors and developing innovative models of prevention to disrupt the cycle of inter-generational exploitation.
In 2015, Sunitha launched #ShameTheRapist campaign which resulted in the Supreme Court of India to form a committee to block rape videos online and the Ministry of Home Affairs setting up the first ever cyber-crime portal to report violent sexually abusive online content. The Public Interest Litigation against Facebook, Google, Yahoo, and other intermediaries brought about the first major regulatory reform in India to curb proliferation of sexual violence on social media. Ms Krishnan’s relentless fight in the Supreme Court for nearly two decades resulted in a path-breaking direction to bring a comprehensive legislation to combat human trafficking in India.
Sunitha has played an instrumental role in drafting several victim centric policies including the first ever Anti Trafficking Policy in India, policy for Minimum Standards of Care, Sex Offenders Registry and introducing video conferencing to record evidence of a trafficked victim. She is responsible for bringing out comprehensive training manuals and handbooks for judicial officers, prosecuting officers, law enforcers and other duty bearers on human trafficking
For her herculean contribution to combat trafficking, she has been recognised by the Government of United States, France and Germany. She is also recipient of Tallberg Global Leadership Prize, Franco-German Prize For Human Rights, Vital Voices Leadership Prize, Living Legends Award, John Jay International Award, DVF Award, Aurora Peace Prize and CNN-IBN Real Hero Award among several others.