Q: What is International Princess™ Project?
IPP is a non-profit organization that empowers women formerly enslaved by prostitution to restore their lives. The mission of International Princess™ Project is to advocate for women enslaved as prostitutes, restore their broken lives, and empower them to live free.
We currently do this through providing vocational training and dignified work for women escaping lives of forced prostitution. This includes the opportunity to support themselves vocationally, to heal in body and spirit and to live lives of freedom. We strive to raise awareness about human trafficking, empower people to rise up with financial support and action to help bring an end to forced prostitution worldwide.
Q: How is IPP funded?
IPP is funded through charitable donations of individuals, corporations, philanthropic organizations and foundation grants. All of the profit from sales of PUNJAMMIES goes back into the PUNJAMMIE business to create sustainability for our partners and for the women working in India. It is our goal that PUNJAMMIE sales will sustain the business and donations will be used for development of new partnerships and sewing centers, and the infrastructure to sustain and grow IPP.
Q: Where is IPP headquartered?
Our headquarters is in Orange County, California.
The PUNJAMMIE™ Project sewing centers are located at secure locations in India. One near the city of Mumbai (formerly Bombay) and two in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
Q: Does IPP have non-profit status?
Yes, International Princess™ Project a 501 C-3 non-profit organization registered in the State of California and with the IRS.
Q: What part does IPP play in addressing the problem of sex trafficking in India?
In our initial research, the IPP team learned that there are indigenous organizations in India that effectively help women and children get out of brothels and rehabilitate them. However, these organizations are constantly struggling to build more capacity and sustainable programs. Through funding, advocacy and program development, IPP’s primary goal is to partner with organizations that are holistic in their focus: addressing the health, education, life skills, and spiritual needs of each woman and child they touch. IPP seeks to strengthen these organizations and help them replicate their successes.
Sewing center projects are the first IPP initiative. Women in this program learn business and vocational skills that will empower them for the rest of their lives. The PUNJAMMIES™ these women manufacture are shipped to the United States and sold. The women are paid a fair trade wage and the proceeds of the sales go directly back to the women and the organizations that support them.
Q: What part does IPP play in the rescue of these girls?
By helping build effective after-care programs, IPP creates capacity to care for women and children who are rescued. We do not conduct or facilitate any rescues directly. Our partners have spent many years building relationships and learning the judicial and law enforcement systems. Our primary focus is partnering with these organizations is increasing the effectiveness of aftercare. We believe IPP's approach will empower more women to be rescued as well as give them a better chance at sustainable life change. These women will have the ability to help others out of the sex trade in unique and powerful ways. Their testimonies will help convict and stop trafficking in the future.
Q: Is IPP a Christian organization?
In the tradition of abolitionist William Wilberforce and transformational leaders like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King, Jr., IPP’s work is founded on the Christian call to justice articulated in the Bible (Isaiah 1:17): Seek justice, protect the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
IPP's staff and board members are Christians from a variety of traditions who are motivated by this call to seek justice for the oppressed. We provide assistance to victims of injustice regardless of their religious beliefs, ethnicity, or gender. We serve people and work with volunteers of varied backgrounds, faiths and views. We want to enable all people to get involved in empowering women to restore their lives.
Q: Does IPP partner with indigenous organizations in India?
Yes, we do. A few organizations we partner with are:
Bombay Teen Challenge: BTC began in 1990 when Mr. K. K. Devaraj, founder and executive director, came to Mumbai, India, with a passion to reach the young generation who were ensnared by drugs, gangs, and prostitution. Today, BTC is one of the largest NGOs working in the field of Health and Education. Their work includes the rescue and rehabilitation of women involved in the sex trade industry and children of commercial sex workers (the actual term used in India). BTC staff rescues children found on the streets begging and surviving on their own through many degrading means, and brings them to the shelter for a home, food, clothes, education, and full time care.
Harvest India: Harvest India is working in the Eastern India state of Andhra Pradesh focusing on caring for the poor, orphaned, widowed, elderly, and sick. Mr. Suresh Kumar leads the Harvest India team as they run orphanages, schools, clean water programs and more. Ashraya, Harvest India’s home for women formerly working as prostitutes, housing nearly 50 women currently, came on board as IPP’s second sewing center in summer 2008. Currently 12 girls are beginning production of PUNJAMMIES™ in the spring of 2009.
Q: How are the ladies cared for? What does that care include?
When girls arrive at the home, they receive medical care (and ongoing care for HIV and AIDs), education, nutrition, housing, spiritual care, micro enterprise vocational training and finance skills. With all of these components in place, we have seen these women become confident about their future and hopeful about all that they can become.
Q: What are you doing to raise awareness about sex trafficking and forced prostitution?
IPP hosts events and creates products that focus on creating a positive solution in the midst of the devastating issue of sex trafficking. It is an unspoken secret that haunts the globe. We believe the overwhelming nature of the problem paralyzes people from action. We aim to communicate reality of the problem, tangible ways to help and the joy and freedom our actions can create.
Currently IPP’s primary vehicle of building awareness is our beautifully hand sewn PUNJAMMIES™ . Every time a pair of PUNJAMMIES™ is sewn and sold it is one step further from a horrifying past, closer to freedom for that woman and a call to awareness and action for the consumer.