|Title||THE LOST DAUGHTERS|
|Product / Service||NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION|
|Category||G01. Grand Prix for good|
|Entrant||WUNDERMAN THOMPSON Mumbai , INDIA|
|Idea Creation||WUNDERMAN THOMPSON Mumbai, INDIA|
Human trafficking is the second-largest organised crime in India. An estimated 16 million women are victims of sex trafficking every year. Unfortunately, only 7% of them are ever rescued. Once rescued from human trafficking, these women think their trauma is over but this is only the beginning of their trauma. After the rescue, when the families are contacted, they often refuse to accept these women because of social stigma, patriarchy, and the fear of ostracisation. There are women who are abandoned by their loved ones and are living in despair for years. Some families refuse to even acknowledge the existence of their daughter and sever all ties with her. The Lost Daughters aims to draw attention to this cause and reunite these daughters with their families.
For centuries Indian women have been victims of societal pressure and patriarchy. The Lost Daughters focuses on a social injustice that affects millions of women every day. In India, when a woman is rescued from human trafficking, sometimes, her family refuses to accept her due to social stigma and she never returns home. In India, there are countless rescued survivors who have nowhere to go after being abandoned by their loved ones. They suffer this indignity in silence for years. Sanlaap, an NGO that rescues and rehabilitates women, wanted to highlight this issue and reunite rescued daughters with their families. The Lost Daughter activation happened during Durga Puja – festival that celebrates the homecoming of the Goddess Durga – the proverbial daughter of Indians. For 10 days, the idol of the Goddess Durga is worshipped in pavilion-like structures called pandals. The idol of the proverbial daughter is showered with love as millions of devotees gather in these pandals (pavilions) to catch a glimpse of their beloved daughter Durga. The Lost Daughter activation, in the festival pavilion, gave Indians a visceral experience and opened their eyes to the hypocrisy that was responsible for the plight of innumerable women.
Durga Puja, one of the largest festivals in the world, welcomes home the Goddess Durga like a daughter. According to Hindu mythology, the Goddess Durga is the daughter who visits her parental home and is welcomed with open arms. During this festival, countless pavilion-like structures called ‘pandals’ are constructed with the Durga idol. Millions of devotees visit these pandals (pavilions) to worship the idol and shower love on the proverbial daughter. But this year, we created an unprecedented pandal (pavilion) that had no idol. The Lost Daughters used this pandal (pavilion) without the idol of the Goddess to remind of the hypocrisy in India that welcomes the Goddess like the daughter but abandons daughters who were rescued from human trafficking. The empty pandal (pavilion) then went on to become the venue where rescued daughters were reunited with their families.
India is home to over 1.5 billion people. Most of them are earnestly religious and love to celebrate festivals. Durga puja is among the most widely celebrated Hindu festivals in the world. The 10-day festival celebrates the homecoming of the Goddess Durga. The Goddess is welcomed home like a daughter. In 2021, Sanlaap wanted to use the backdrop of this festival to reunite rescued women with their families and increase awareness about this issue. During Durga Puja - a festival that welcomes home the Goddess like a daughter, The Lost Daughters campaign reminded people of the social injustice that happens to their daughters. This was the perfect time to start a conversation around this unjust practice that adversely affects women and leaves them abandoned.
The Lost Daughters campaign was launched during the Durga Puja Festival, in October 2021. The empty festival pavilion, without the Goddess was witnessed by millions of devotees. Social media buzz and word-of-mouth ensured massive footfall to see the ‘Pandal without Durga’. Sanlaap, an NGO that rehabilitates victims of sexual abuse with their families, then identified rescued survivors of human trafficking who were abandoned by their families. The venue, then further became a neutral ground for a reunion, where these daughters came face to face with their families. Along with NGO workers, counsellors and human rights activists, they initiated a dialogue between these abandoned daughters and their families.
The empty pandal immediately garnered a lot of attention and became a talking point. In just 3 months, Sanlaap has successfully reunited 12 happy daughters with their parents. Sanlaap continues to raise awareness around this issue with regular conferences and awareness drives.