Nepal shares 1850 kilometers of open border with India in its southern, eastern, and western territories which makes the movement of people easier. This open and porous border between Nepal and India makes trafficking simple and difficult to detect. Border towns on both sides are busy markets, catering to residents from both countries. Those markets are fertile grounds for smuggling and prostitution, serving as a nexus for brokers and agents who take advantage of the crowds of anonymous travellers, the guest lodges, and the easy access to transportation. In addition to being a destination, India is also a transit country for Nepalese and Bangladeshi women trafficked to Pakistan, Western Asia, and the Middle East and for women trafficked from the Russian Federation to Thailand.
Though thousands of women and children are made to return by police and civil society organizations, back to Nepal, if suspected of being trafficked, many are trafficked to India where they are forced to work in brothels. Although there are no reliable data on the magnitude of young women and children’s trafficking in working district, there are indications that would justify large number of young women and children trafficking from working districts into the sex industry in India and other countries. Due to the lack of resources, the problem has not been able to be controlled and solved.
TIP Report-2019 of Human Right Commission, Nepal says that nearly 1.5 million Nepalis are at risk of various forms of human trafficking. The annual report, 2019 of the human rights body estimated that nearly 35,000 Nepali citizens, 15,000 men, 15,000 women and 5,000 children were trafficked in 2018. Foreign employment and child labour made up nearly 70 percent of the total trafficked population, followed by those from the entertainment sector and those reported missing. It further says that aspiring migrant workers, Nepalis working abroad, people in the adult entertainment sector, girls and women from rural areas, missing persons and child labourers are among the groups most vulnerable to trafficking. This makes Nepal a source, as well as a transit and destination for human trafficking.
Considering such situations, OVN in partnership with GSIF a project entitled ‘Cross-Border Anti-Human Trafficking Project’ was designed for the protection of vulnerable women and girls at risk of trafficking; rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of survivors of cross border trafficking; and strengthening surveillance mechanism at boarder areas through Indo-Nepal cross-border initiatives.
The overall goal of the project is to rescue, protect and reintegrate the Vulnerable women and girls survivors or at risk of trafficking in more responsive and safer communities through the provision of temporary shelter, psychosocial support, alternative livelihoods and other rehabilitation. This project is targeted to survivors of trafficking and women and girls at risk of human trafficking focusing on the prevention and response aspects of cross-border trafficking and joint collaboraton through rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration with restoring self-esteems.
Objectives of the Project
- Increased protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of vulnerable girls’ victims of cross border trafficking through post-rescue assistance in terms of temporary shelter, mental health, psychosocial, trauma counseling services and legal support;
- Improved self-reliance and self-esteem for trafficking victims through economic empowerment and skills development and linkages to income generating opportunities for full reintegration into the mainstream society; and
- Strengthened awareness and capacity of the communities to deal with cases of trafficking through community awareness sessions, targeted counseling and information dissemination to potential women and girl migrants and improved surveillance mechanisms.
Opportunity Village Nepal (OVN) has been implementing 2 years’ project (1st June.2019- 30th June 202) entitled ‘Cross-Border Anti-Human Trafficking Project’, funded by Good Shepherd International Foundation (GSIF) in three R/Municipalities of Rupandehi district, nemely, Rohini Rural Municipality, Marchawar Rural Municipality and Siddhartha Nagar Municipality.
This project is targeted to reach out the 30 women and children who are victims of trafficking through holistic support like residential care and protection/rehabilitation, individual counselling and other therapeutic services, vocational/skilled based trainings, livelihood opportunities, post rescue and repatriation into the country and reintegration into family and over 100 women and children through the provisions of in-house trainings, counselling, education and health support as direct beneficiaries whereas over 2,000 women and children, adolescents, school teachers, family members and other community members, local representatives and political leaders will be reached out through awareness campaigns and other preventative activities, advocacy and other public and social events during national and international celebrations as indirect beneficiaries.
- Rescue operation and repatriation
- Shelter with comprehensive services for the survivors and at risk of human trafficking
- Reintegration of the rescued survivors
- Livelihood support through micro finance for families
- Formation, strengthening and mobilization of Protection Committee on Border Surveillance/Vigilance
- Establishment of Surveillance Booth/Center
- Educational/Vocational Training/Support to Survivors
- Psychosocial Services for Survivors
- Lobby and Advocacy
- Awareness campaign
- Coordination, collaboration with linkage establishment including with cross-border stakeholders
Project has reached out the 2531 people consisting survivors of human trafficking, women, girls and children at risk and other community people through its different field level intervention in the prevention and response of human trafficking like Anti-Human Trafficking Day Celebration, 16 days of activism on Violence against Women, Interaction Program at school focusing on Gender Based Violence, School Session on Anti-human trafficking, rehabilitation and reintegration into families.
9 survivors of trafficking were rescued from India with the help of PGSS, Nepal Police, APF, SSB, and India Police. Rescued cases were provided with protection and other services at Safe Home being operated by the project in Rupandehi and have been reintegrated into their family.
OVN provided psychosocial counseling service to 18 beneficiaries suffering from trafficking, kidnapping, pologmy etc. Out of the total beneficiaries of the shelter home, 11 beneficiaries (9 survivors of trafficking and 2 youths at risk of human trafficking/sexual exploitation) were reintegrated in their family through the safe home.
With the aim of supporting most deserving families like ultra-poor families, daily wage laborers who lost their job due to pandemic and other helpless families directly affected by pandemic residing in the cross-border project working areas, OVN provided the immediate relief materials (food package) to 158 needy households.
The project has been able to draw the attention of province, district government agencies like district police office, women cell, OCMC, local governments though its inception meetings, workshops, interaction and regular coordination Local government showed their solidarity to bring synergy in outcomes and taking ownership of CBAHT project.
The project has also established coordination and linkage with Indian based NGO, namely, Purvanchal Gramin Sewa Samiti in Gorakhpur, Indian SSB, Police, Custom officer to strengthen the cross-borders mechanism to prevent illegal human transport from one country to the other.