Akhi, 31
Tangail, Bangladesh

At the tender age of 13, Akhi was sold as a bonded sex worker in a Bangladeshi brothel. She escaped the brothel for five years by marrying a man from the outside, but was eventually forced to return to Tangail. She endeavored to create an organization to advocate for sex workers' rights, accomplishing the near-impossible task of gaining support from religious, political and social groups, and is said to have such a forceful personality that even the police are afraid of her. Since the group's conception, condom use has jumped from near zero to 86% and the number of 12-13 year-olds working in the brothels has decreased.


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