Fellow Since 2004
This profile was prepared when Tahir Khilji was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2004.
The New Idea
Through his organization Vision, Tahir is using transvestite prostitutes and the spread of AIDS as a vehicle to challenge social and religious taboos around sex that have allowed abuse to go unchecked. By providing transvestites with a peer support network and medical and legal assistance, helping them reintegrate into society, and bringing outside awareness to their issues—including their role in HIV transmission—Tahir has created an opening for a public dialogue about human rights and the social and public health impact of sexual abuse. His work is also helping the legal and medical professions develop the capacity to deal with these issues, and he has created an alliance of civil society groups to help expand his transvestite rehabilitation effort to include sexually-abused children.