Project Stories:

Nepal and human trafficking

humedica trainings sensitize the endangered population

by LKO, 2016/03/24

Also before the earthquake in April 2015 Nepal rated as a stronghold for international human trafficking. But when the poverty increased due to the disaster that also heightened the danger for exploitation. humedica therefore offers specific trainings to elucidate people at risk and to protect them from the manipulation of the human traffickers.

Humans as trading goods

Well-to-do people living in Western countries with an outstanding human rights policy come across the topic people smuggling only when they watch information media. Mostly this topic rests no more than an abstract terminology covering key words such as forced labour, smuggling or prostitution.

But everyone, who takes a second look at this subject, will understand that it is far more complex and confusing than expected, especially with regard to legal foundations. In every country there are different legal definitions, so that it is nearly impossible to define exactly and generally valid, what can be rated as human traficking and therefore is viable for prosecution. In this field law enforcement is therefore always subject to the political interests and police work of the respective state.

In 2000 the United Nations launched a first attempt to introduce a universally valid definition in the third article of the so-called Palermo protocol. There „human trafficking“ is defined as the exploitation of a human being against his own will by another person, who uses various means such as thread of violence, deception, cheating or abuse.

People living in insecure legal or social positions run inevitably the risk to become victims of the cruel manipulations of people smugglers. Topics such as wage slavery, violence against women and sexual exploitation play a major role and occur both in the national and international context.

Hotspot Nepal

Besides the sad cases of Thailand and Cambodia Nepal is another country, which suffers in particular from human traficking. Due to poverty, unemployment and deficient education the inhabitants of the Himalayan state are an easy prey. Experts estimate that human trafickers carry off from 15.000 to 20.000 Nepalese girls and women.

Many of them are locked up in Indian or Chinese brothels, others are caught up by organ theft networks or have to work as subordinates in private households. Also men are lured abroad as emigrant workers and are forced to do arduous labour in inhumane conditions.

After the heavy earthquake in April 2015 the danger to be abused by human trafickers has risen: In the disaster area the distress has increased, many people lost their houses, their possessions and their jobs and, out of lack of prospects, are ready to agree to anything, when human trafickers promise alleged ways out of the poverty in the cities or abroad.

Government and police respond to this increasing danger with enforced border controls and special trainings for officials, but in a country, which is so extremely poor as Nepal, these efforts are doomed to remain insubstantial. Therefore again and again thousands of girls and young women are transported across the open borders to India to be resold there.

Protection by education

Shortly after the earthquake humedica started a sponsorship programme in Sindhupalchok, a region well known for human traficking. The recipients of these sponsorships had lost their livelihoods and would have been easy targets for people smugglers, who are highly active in this area.

humedica organised together with its partner organisation Nazarene Compassionate Ministries a training for all local employees to protect them. Trained professionals informed the participants about the various aspects of human traficking and explained among other topics the ways and tricks of people smugglers, legal basics and safety measures.

In specific meetings the humedica employees passed on their knowledge to the aid recipients, who then could inform about the procedures and dangers of human trafickers in their own communities. Thus approximately 1.200 people could be informed and sensibilised directly and many thousands more indirectly.

The great interest of the informed aid recipients mirrors the importance of this topic for the Nepalese society. The shocked and deeply alarmed reaction of the attending women, when they heard about the severe consequences of human trafficking, shows clearly, how little affected people actually know.

The information meetings made a clear impact: all training participants were highly motivated to impart their newly acquired knowledge to all their acquaintances in order not only to protect themselves, but also to prevent further victims of human trafficking.

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