Girls vulnerable to Human Trafficking due to COVID
By Anjana Shakya - Chairperson
Recently we rescued six girls, age 10 and 11 and one 15 year old on Nov 17, 2021 They are all from a very small minority ethnic group called Praja, who a few decades back used to live in mountain jungles and caves. These girls are fromRaksirang, Makwanpur district, central mid mountain region of Nepal. All six girls and Bikesh Praja, the guy who has taken them from their families are from the same ethnic and religious group. He had taken the children from their families to send them to school in Kathmandu. But due to COVID, they stopped receiving fund fortheir school fees and living expenses. The J.B. Foundation which supported them got shut down due to COVID. He brought them back to Manahari which is adjacent to Raksirang and kept them in a small room in his relative’s place. Bikesh had called local Lions Club for support many times. Thus, the representative of Lions Club along with others went to meet them, including the Child Development Centre, who promised to support the girls to school though twelfth grade. Bikesh had given them a dream of good future for the girls. He even taught the girls to tell everyone that they want to live in cities and not return back to their remote villages. Thus,the parents too were influenced by this dream and were not ready to take them home. According to local people Bikesh is used to raising funds by showing their poverty; he did not want to send them with their parents. The girls were his means to raise fund.All six were living in one small room and cooking in the same place too. The eldest one did the cooking and younger ones did the dishes.
My team from HIMRIGHTS along with other NGOs from Human Rights Protection and Human Trafficking Networkwere able to intercept them. We were worried that they could get trafficked as they were in a very vulnerable situation. We established The Human Rights Protection and Human Trafficking Network with 22 member organizations in 2008. This group gets mobilized any time there is any vulnerability of human trafficking.They invited the local government, the chairperson of the Raksirang Rural Municipality and relevant departments to be part of the interception. My team was able to negotiate with the local government to support them to send them to schools close to their homes. We believe children have the right to be with their families.
Jointly they were able to convince the families to take back their daughters and protect rights. All the six girls were received by their parents and taken home by their respective families.
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