Bringing Gandhi to the red light district

Patkar, a human rights activist working in India to protect women and children from prostitution, speaks to The Post's Lillian Cunningham about "being the change." (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

One night, while doing social work research in India, Priti Patkar came across a sight that would alter the course of her career — she saw a young child, her mother and her grandmother all soliciting side by side as prostitutes in the red light district of Mumbai. That moment catalyzed Patkar's efforts to start an organization called Prerana, which now works to end trafficking and second-generation prostitution.

On Tuesday, Patkar will receive the 2014 global human rights award from Vital Voices, an organization that began as a policy initiative in 1997 by then first lady Hillary Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to empower women across the globe.

Patkar is the latest interviewee to join The Washington Post's "On Leadership" video series. In the video above, she shares the story of starting her organization and how she's drawn inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi to change the ills she sees in the world.

Other recent conversations on leadership in the series:

Bishop T.D. Jakes

Twitter co-founder Biz Stone

Human rights activist John Prendergast

Lillian Cunningham is the editor and feature writer for The Washington Post's 'On Leadership' section.

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