The Taiwan Foundation for Demo-cracy (TFD) yesterday announced that the Rescue Foundation, an Indian anti-human trafficking organization, was the recipient of this year’s Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平), who doubles as chairman of the foundation, told a press conference in Taipei that the Rescue Foundation stood out from a list of five finalists recommended for the award for its dedication to helping young girls exploited by human traffickers or forced into prostitution in South Asia.
President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) will present a US$100,000 grant to a representative of the foundation on Human Rights Day in Taipei tomorrow, Wang said.
The Rescue Foundation was established by Balkrishna Acahrya in Mumbai in 2000. The group rescues about 300 girls from India, Nepal and Bangladesh every year.
The foundation was recommended by Vaidehi (whose alias is Vibhuti Joshi), a 17-year-old victim of human trafficking and the Dutch children’s organization Stop Child Abuse, Wang said.
The Dutch organization said the Rescue Foundation successfully invested its resources in rescuing and comforting victims and provided them with an opportunity to return to a normal life.
Vaidehi said she was able to move beyond her memories of abuse with help from the foundation, Wang said.
A total of 25 individuals and organizations were nominated for the award in the TFD’s preliminary review and five entered the final list after being reviewed by a board composed of international human rights advocates, including Sima Samar, chairwoman of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission and a former recipient of the award, and Kyoto Human Rights Research Institute director Nisuke Ando.
None of the recommended individuals or groups were Taiwanese, TFD chief executive Huang Teh-fu (黃德福) said during a question-and-answer session after the press conference.