Meet Emma and Hannah
Nepali girls living in a remote rural locations have a major problem. It’s quite likely close to half of them are living well below the poverty line. A girl will witness her family and siblings struggling regularly with basic survival, not to mention the challenges that illness can bring along without warning. She feels responsible to look after them. What she likely doesn’t know is that she has a target on her back. She has possibly already been observed by a human trafficker who sees nothing but profit. Preying on her desperation and desire to help her family, he will trick her and her family with stories of fame and fortune in India and beyond, with the promise of great financial returns to everyone from the money she will send home. She starts to dream of Bollywood, education, even love once they tell her how beautiful and talented she is. The day comes for her to leave to fulfill her dream and within hours she is crossing the Nepal border into the hands of what she thinks is her future employer. Within hours reality dawns on her. Her new employer, a brothel owner, informs her of her fate.
She has become another victim of human trafficking. An estimated 25,000 Nepali women and children will experience this fate this year. These daughters will simply disappear, most never to be heard from again.
“Today, whole villages in remote rural Nepal have NO GIRLS left above the age of 10. They’ve all been trafficked” – Helen Eagar, Chairperson of the Board of 3 Angels Nepal.
“25,000 girls are trafficked each year” – these facts are hard to accept. But, there are groups of people working tirelessly to not just stop the trade, but prevent it in the first place.
Stopping human trafficking in its tracks. Combating human trafficking is a challenging and ever-changing mixture of prevention, interception and rescue efforts. All parts of this horror come into place and can reviewed in other project areas taken on by Captivating. However, central to the strategy of stopping human trafficking is the operation of border monitoring stations.
Better than rescue attempts (extracting girls from brothels through an expensive combination of legal and police supervised activity) is the aim of INTERCEPTING these girls before they cross the Nepal border. In cooperation with our Nepal-based partners, 3 Angels Nepal and Tiny Hands International, small but effective police-approved checkpoints have been set up near important border crossing or transit hub locations. Trained staff with the approval to stop any suspicious looking cases will interview girls and their escorts to clarify legitimacy. Following risk-based questionnaires, suspicious cases will be investigated further, which may or may not lead to approval to proceed across the border.
Every year it is estimated that in excess of 50,000 women and girls are stopped and interviewed at Captivating funded monitoring stations. Most are allowed to proceed. However, some women are likely caught in the very act of being trafficked. These women would have already be “priced” and assumed to be in the process of hand-over to their buyer. For most of these women, 100% confirmation of their trafficking situation is not possible, so prosecution is not possible except in about 10% of cases. The local police office will often agree to the high likelihood these women are being trafficked and an interception is registered.
Women who are intercepted are counseled and educated about what was quite likely about to take place, and then reunited with their family (who will also be counseled). In some cases, victims require more intense counseling and support – activities that take place at transit safe houses which are also funded by Captivating and run by our partners.
Intercepting girls before they become victims of human trafficking works. It is cost effective (US$100 is the average cost to intercept a girl) and potentially saves a girl from a terrible fate. The simple monitoring station is the last line of defense before a girl’s worst nightmare starts. This work is so important.
Meet Emma and Hannah
“My name is Hannah* and I’m a Nepali girl who is 18. A man approached me and offered me work in India. We traveled to the Indian border with 8 other girls that were being given work as well. At the border we were stopped and interviewed by staff at the border monitoring booth and asked a number of questions, including “Where are you going, what are you going to be doing, how long do you plan to stay and who is the man was that is with you”. We really didn’t know how to answer these questions. It was after that, they went away and interviewed the man and made several phone calls. I was told I was being trafficked.”
“My name is Emma* and I’m 20 and a Nepali. I was living in very poor economic conditions and there were no job opportunities where I was from. I went searching for work from place to place and a stranger approached and gave me hope that he’d find work for me. I eagerly went with him but my dream of work became a nightmare as I was taken to India and sold. A Nepali worker in the same hotel heard about my situation and helped me to run away to the border where I was rescued by 3AN’s border monitoring staff and taken to a transit home and then a safe house as I couldn’t return to my village as I was considered an outcast now. I’m one of the lucky ones as I’ve been given counseling, education, rehabilitation and vocational training.”
(*Names withheld for protection)