I knew that those sex workers I had met in themorning
could be the woman that I carried upstairs later thatevening,
unless we found a way to defy the stigma that hungover their lives.
Over the past ten years, our Foundation has helped sex workers build support groups
so they could empower one another to speak up
and demand safe sex and that their clients use condoms.
Their brave efforts have helped to keep HIV prevalence low among sex workers
and a lot of studies show
that's the big reason why the AIDS epidemic has not exploded in India.
When these sex workers gather together to help stop AIDS transmission,
something unexpected and wonderful happened.
The community they formed became a platform for everything.
Police and others who raped and robbed them
couldn't get away with it anymore.
The women set up systems to encourage savings for one another
and with those savings, they were able to leave sex work.
This was all done by people that society considered the lowest of the low.