3-Part Trafficking Prevention Plan Already Saving Kids in Hetauda, Nepal
Child trafficking persists in Nepal, and many believe it was made worse by the instability caused by the 2015 earthquakes. You’re not going to solve this global injustice in one swoop, but you can save one child at a time.
With the right plan in place, you can also work to bring about the long term systemic change that will stop child trafficking and bring all its offshoots to an end.
Read on to discover three things about child trafficking and what you can do to stop it. Here’s what you’ll learn in this 2-part article:
Who is at risk of child trafficking in Nepal
How we can protect children and stop them from being trafficked
The options available once a child is rescued
Who Is at Risk of Child Trafficking in Nepal
The causes of child trafficking are numerous, but at the core there is just one: extreme poverty and need. Right next to that is a lack of education, particularly among girls. If you want to permanently stop child trafficking, you’ve got to do something about those two root causes.
But extending out from those roots like a diseased tree, many other vulnerabilities have arisen among children in Nepal, and most of these causes of child trafficking affect kids in other countries too.
This report from UNICEF adds scant employment opportunities, gender discrimination, and a lack of awareness among the most vulnerable people as other causes of child trafficking.
With all these causes in mind, here’s who is most at risk of being trafficked in Nepal:
Kids who get thrown out of their homes. This happens for all sorts of reasons, but often their original parents are out of the picture, and their new caretakers aren’t as invested in their development. But this can also stem from poverty, and the parents (or other relatives) sometimes choose some kids over others
Kids running away from abuse and neglect
Kids who have lost their parents and have nowhere else to go. These kids end up on their own, scavenging just to survive
Kids who get sold by their own parents. This can happen deliberately – some parents just want the money. It can also happen ignorantly – pointing back to the lack of awareness referred to in the UNICEF report (see how WPC Nepal’s human trafficking awareness program educates parents and kids on how to know when they’re being deceived by a child trafficker)
Kids whose parents do love them but can’t provide for them
Common Thread Among Child Trafficking Risk Factors
Do you see the common thread of poverty linking all these together? Child trafficking happens in part because there’s no one there to rescue the kids who are in immediate need. But to permanently stop it, we will need to shift the ground on which the entire society rests. Can both be done? Yes! Keep reading, and see how it’s already happening.
Traffickers prey on these vulnerable kids and on their parents and relatives. According to one very in-depth study of child trafficking, “All offer a false promise of a better life elsewhere (e.g., employment, modeling, marriage). In other cases, poverty-stricken families sell their children in a desperate attempt to purchase food.”
Child traffickers specialize in deception that exploits families and children who want a better life. They tell them about a great opportunity, like a school they can finally afford or some other far-away promise that seems like their best chance to give their kids a better life.
Often, the trafficker is well-dressed and convincing. More often than you might think, they are women. And not all child trafficking is about sex slavery, though that’s the most common. More and more kids are being sent into forced labor like brick kilns, circuses, and factories, as reported by this New Zealand article.
They get sent to big cities like Kathmandu. They get sent to other countries, most commonly India and places in the Middle East. Some are sold. Others go voluntarily, believing they’ve found a better opportunity than what’s available in Nepal, only to learn after their passports get confiscated that they’ve been tricked and have no way out.
This is how child trafficking happens in Nepal. Other countries have similar characteristics.
So how can you stop this injustice from spreading and continuing to destroy children’s lives?