December 5 2017
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The threat of human trafficking increased after two devastating earthquakes struck Nepal in 2015. For people simply seeking food, shelter, and employment, the threat of human trafficking was suddenly widespread.
Sabitri Lama was a teenager who simply wanted to economically help her family, but who nearly became a victim of traffickers. Lured by false promises of work, she and three other girls left their village and were trapped by traffickers ready to sell them. At the last minute, they were saved by a local, and were returned to their families.
Karuna-Shechen is working to change this situation and help vulnerable people find employment, and migrate safely. By creating a variety of counter-human trafficking efforts, we are raising awareness among potential victims, training surveillance groups to identify signs of trafficking, and providing resources for those who need it.
This takes a coordinated effort from local actors who perform street dramas about the issue, to radio stations who air our public service announcements. Once Nepali communities are made aware of the problem, they rally to keep one another safe.
“It is so important to inform people about the realities of trafficking,” says Som Bahadur Syangtan, a local liaison officer who helps facilitate our work. “Most local inhabitants are uneducated, and girls and women can easily believe in false promises and get trapped. But because of anti-trafficking programs, the number of cases is going down.”
For girls like Sabitri Lama — now 19 and happily reunited with her family — Karuna-Shechen’s initiatives mean the difference between being a victim or staying free. We are remaining vigilant by continuing our work to make sure that more stories end well.
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