“I need dignified employment to get me out of this dirty business!”
This piercing proclamation, made by a courageous woman trapped in the exploitation
of the commercial sex trade, cut through the hot, stale air of the cramped meeting room
in the GB Road area of Old Delhi, and landed like a thunderclap on the heart
of Dr. Vanessa Bouché — a professor of political science at Texas Christian University
and global human trafficking scholar.
Dr. Bouché had for years researched the issue of commercial sexual exploitation.
She had advised government officials and NGO leaders on empirical findings and policy recommendations. She had interacted with victims and survivors, including in the red-light district of GB Road, where she sat on this day with a roomful of TCU students enrolled
in a human trafficking study abroad experience, listening to the stories of women who lived
in the bondage of prostitution, the squalor of the Old Delhi brothels, the stigmatization
society would not allow them to be free of.
But she had never been challenged as directly and as boldly as this—for something as fundamental as a decent job, any job, that doesn’t traumatically exploit a person every hour
of every day.
“Why should I share my story with you? Time and again people like you come to record
our stories for your own benefit, but our situation remains the same. You are exploiting us
for our stories. I need dignified employment!”
There was only one response to this startling yet inspiring challenge:
a personal commitment to help this woman find dignified employment.
But after months of research, of queries, of leveraging international relationships to
find some nonprofit or agency providing employment to this population of exploited women,
Dr. Bouché found nothing —all the while the words “I need dignified employment!”
burdening her heart and steeling her resolve.
After recognizing this need, and subsequent to several months of ideation, team-building, market research, networking, and financial modeling, Savhera was born in June 2018,
named by the very population of women to whom it will provide dignified employment.
In Hindi, it means “new dawn” or “new beginning.”
We invite you into this new beginning with us!