Sometimes, we all need a sense of hope to break malicious cycles of fear, vulnerability, and helplessness. Kanya Babu, a Tamil Nadu resident, is the ray of hope for children and women who have been victims of abuse, assault, and human trafficking.
Kanya Babu through her NGO named All India Movement For Service (AIMS), seeks to bring a cumulative change for the victims of child trafficking, sexual abuse and exploitation.
After successfully mobilising 2000 volunteers for the 2015 Chennai floods, Kanya noticed her remarkable leadership qualities. Her husband, impressed by her abilities, suggested that she should start a non-profit organisation dedicated to a social cause.
She began volunteering with local NGOs and was involved in environmental activism. Meanwhile, the increasing crime rate against children and women in the country worried her. A horrific rape case in 2017 was the final nail in the coffin. She was shaken by the gruesome rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl.
Thus, in the same year, she co-founded AIMS to fight for such victims. She kept a close eye on that case, learning as much as she could about juvenile law and safety. She believed that approaching the problem through the system would be ideal, resulting in a holistic solution for child safety.
'I found that the system had many loops. I wanted to stand for the right thing. I want to be the voice of the voiceless,' Kanya told to The Logical Indian.
Women and children have been rescued by AIMS not only in India but also in other nations. In one such incident, AIMS, along with IPS Shri. Vijayakumar rescued a domestic worker from Muscat in just five days. The woman, a native of Ambur, was physically and mentally tortured by her employer.
In 2019, in another similar case, AIMS had helped Indian women who worked as a housemaid escape the torture by her employers in Kuwait. She was brought back to India with the assistance of police personnel in seven days.
Kanya learned about a missing child who resembled a child case in Vadodara via social media. During the operation, the team uncovered that local goons forced over 2000 children to beg. She immediately organised 30 volunteers in Gujarat. AIMS was able to save some children in just 13 hours with the help of the police and members of Exnora. Although, they were unable to locate the child they were looking for, this is an outstanding feat for AIMS.
Her journey was not without its difficulties. She has been threatened by various stakeholders but she remained unaffected.
Once, Kanya and both her children were encircled by 8-10 men who threatened them while she confronted a beggar lady in a market, carrying a child who did not resemble her. She had a narrow escape that day.
Both of her sons regard her as a hero. "I want to continue to inspire and motivate them to do the good work," she said.
They weren't deterred by the Covid -19 pandemic. Last year, in late March, when Kanya learned that an 11-year-old girl had been raped by a neighbour and abandoned in a vacant plot in Maduravoyal, she raced to the scene. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, AIMS has been assisting the girl's family and giving legal aid to pursue justice.
She kept in touch with medical personnel and police to ensure that the process was going smoothly and that the evidence was not tampered with due to the restrictions in place.
During the lockdown, she would talk to the victims on call for hours to provide emotional support. When she offered to help them with professional counselling, they declined and demanded that she talk with them.
Recently, AIMS furnished information through RTI which revealed that nearly 10,000 cases had been filed in Tamil Nadu over a year. Out of that, only 3000 cases had a charge sheet filed. Merely, 260 cases got convictions.
"The law is not victim-centric. I want to get justice for the victim and simultaneously make sure that the system is changing," Kanya said while talking with The Logical Indian.
When the first wave hit the country, they started providing food relief. AIMS distributed around 3 tonnes of food grains and groceries to the needy with the Chennai Corporation. They've also been offering education scholarships to the children. They continue to hold awareness camps with students for child and women safety.
"If I don't ask the questions, who will? Someone has to come forward for the people who aren't standing up for themselves," concludes Kanya says talking about her work.