The journey began back in 2009 when our founder and CEO Emily Hanscamp visited the Kamathipura red light area in Mumbai India. Deeply impacted by the exploitation, torture and trauma facing these women, when Emily arrived back in Australia she reached out to see what could be done. Bake sales and car washes raised a couple of thousand to send back to the Kamathipura women and in the following years, Asha Global was born.
From 2012 -2014, Asha Global funded a full time staff coordinator at Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) in Mumbai. Each day the centre provided over 300 daughters of trafficked women with nutritious food, medical support, school material and tutoring. The mission of AAWC is to help daughters born into brothels have an alternative life and career outside of sex work.
After years of working directly with social workers and counsellors in Mumbai it became clear to the Asha leadership that psychological and emotional barriers were some of the biggest challenges women faced when trying to leave the sex trade. Women and girls in sexual exploitation live in a constant state of stress and fear, and thinking beyond surviving today becomes overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Yet there were few, if any, mental health and psychological services to address their needs. We were further shocked to realize that even in Australia there are very few mental health services for women suffering trauma consequent of sexual exploitation.
In 2014 Asha began focusing on pioneering the HerSpace mental health programs for girls and women in Australia. HerSpace is a place were all women and girls who have survived sexual exploitation can access mental health support sensitive to their experiences, tailored to address trauma impacts and support their pathways of healing and recovery out of exploitation. It is our hope that the model developed and refined in Australia can be expanded throughout the world and adapted to the local context, culture and language to help women and girls seek the resources they need to chose their own direction.
See more about the HerSpace program operating in Melbourne.
If you are curious about our past or present operations, we encourage you to read our annual reports.