Each January, the United States marks National Anti-Trafficking Month to draw attention to a blight which affects thousands of Americans and millions around the world. The International Labour Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry (Source).
Childhood supports over 100 projects around the world, many of which combat human trafficking. Here are two based in Nepal:
Shakti Samuha is the first organization in Nepal to be run by trafficking survivors. Since 2013, Childhood has been supporting their Teen Support Group project which aims to establish 10 clubs in three of Nepal’s southern districts bordering India. The Nepal’s border region is generally very poor. The border itself is very porous and people constantly move across it raising the risk of human trafficking.
Each Teen Support Group has 20-25 youth who regularly meet with Shakti Samuha’s facilitators and discuss the daily challenges they face related to child abuse, trafficking and child marriage. The groups arrange local awareness-raising events, educational support (to prevent children from being taken out of school), income generation training for parents, and parent-child interactions to encourage understanding.
One of our best partners in Nepal is Asha Nepal. Their project “Developing Individual’s Acceptance” is focused on supporting the families after traumatic experiences, such as abuse and trafficking, so they can stay together. They currently support 59 families with education support and income generation in the Kathmandu, one of the regions hardest hit by last year’s earthquakes. (One of these families is pictured above.)
Asha Nepal also provides monthly parental and children’s self-help groups where families can discuss difficulties, exchange experiences, and provide support to each other. This self-help program has seen high success rates with a majority of families able to stay together. After close review, we believe that it has the potential to develop into a scalable model in the near future as an alternative to the common practice of placing children in residential care.
By supporting families and empowering teens, the World Childhood Foundation believes that it can change the lives of families across Nepal and around the world. With this guidance, we can combat the underlying causes of human trafficking and protect the most vulnerable in our global society.
PC: Joel Borgström
Text: Joel Borgström, Thomas Brande