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Anti-trafficking movement, not me won Padma Sree: Sunita Krishnan

Smt. Sunita Krishnan, who was conferred the Padma Shri in recognition of her yeoman services in the cause of illicit trafficking in women, received the award today from the Hon'ble President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee. Here is what she has to say on this recognition and the movement against trafficking in women.

"This is not an honour given to me. This is an honour given to my battle. This is a victory of all those who are combating trafficking in women. I myself have been working against this evil for more than 20 years now. Many have asked me if it's necessary to talk about this evil as such negative publicity will give a bad name to one's State. At this time, the government has felt it necessary to recognize my efforts. This victory belongs to all my fellow crusaders."

"Change is not possible with the efforts of just one individual or a few organizations. The administrative machinery, too, should become part of this movement. I would like to urge the government to give assurance and protection to the victim. The government should give exemplary punishment to perpetrators of this savage crime against women. The lenient climate created by a weak criminal justice system has emboldened the culprits, who think that they can go scot-free by doing severest crimes against women."

"The police, the government, the administrative machinery have to follow a policy of zero tolerance against trafficking in women. The state should act in such a manner that organizations like ours will become irrelevant one day."

"Our attitude toward our girl children must change. It is a brother, a father who pays for the trafficking. If there is proper nurturing at home, a day will come when no male will want to trade in a woman's body."

"Equal rights are women's rights. They are not a concession or charity. I salute the agitation of those fighting for gaining for women entry into temples, but that's not my priority. My fight is against slavery, which is dehumanizing. I want to dedicate my energy and time toward liberating girls/women from the evils of foeticide and trafficking."