Apne Aap Women’s Collective was founded in 1998 on Falkland Road, Kamathipura to address the plight of women trafficked into brothel-based prostitution. Initially a single-room drop-in centre, AAWC eventually developed into a resource centre to better address the women’s needs, providing them with professional counseling, medical care, micro-savings facilities, and other services – the Umeed ("hope") program.

As AAWC’s outreach team developed a regular home-visit schedule, they realised that the daughters of Umeed women were at great risk of being coerced into prostitution due to their extensive exposure to the brothel system and to their lack of educational opportunities. As a result, the Udaan ("flight") program launched in October 2000 to prevent second-generation trafficking. In June 2002, AAWC expanded its services to include the young toddlers of women as well through the launch of the Umang ("joy") program.

Today, AAWC operates two centres, one in the Khetwadi lanes and another in the Kamathipura lanes, two communities which together comprise the largest and oldest red light district in Asia. As of March 2013, the organisation has served more than 1,500 women, 650 girls and 400 toddlers. Alumni of AAWC's programs include a financial analyst, teacher, medical compounder, dance instructor, photographer, retail executive, social workers, beauticians, chefs at an international luxury five-star hotel, and even a scholarship student at an American university / one of Newsweek’s “25 Under 25 Women in the World”.