January 11, 2019
Awareness of human trafficking is more than knowledge — it also serves as prevention.
According to a United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime 2016 Global Report, nearly 71 percent of human trafficking victims are women and girls, and one-third are children.
The Sudarnagar Mother’s Group in Nepal is telling a different story through their community groups. Chairwoman Maya Tamang explains, “Now we are more aware about trafficking issues. … We have gained knowledge and ideas and learned how important a group can be in the community. Because of support by group members, we have been able to catch traffickers and save our children from them.”
Traffickers tricked 14-year-old Santosh into a job that would pay him 5,000 per month in Nepalese rupees (then equal to $60 in U.S. dollars). His parents told the group what had happened to him, and they asked for the group to help rescue him in India. The women made plans to catch the traffickers, after asking around and collecting information about them. This group also circled the house of the traffickers and warned them to bring Santosh back in two days. The case was registered at the local police station, and with their assistance, they brought Santosh back home from India. After this experience, Santosh has promised to share with other children, so that they will not fall into the same trap.
By empowering girls and their families to keep them in school, this community-based group is also preventing human trafficking. The girls gain the confidence to speak up for themselves. The families are warned about the dangers of migration and human trafficking. Teenage girls meet for mutual support. They also sell incense sticks for other girls who cannot afford school stationery. Bhabishara, the group secretary of the Butwal-based group, who is also in Grade 7 at a local government school, says, “Without education, it’s like sitting in darkness. To go forward, we need an education.”
These groups are how United Mission to Nepal (UMN) seeks to create “peaceful, harmonious, just, safe and secure communities.” UMN is an international non-governmental organization that strives to address the root causes of poverty as it serves the people of Nepal in the name and spirit of Jesus Christ. Presbyterian World Mission considers UMN an effective partner in addressing human trafficking.
Rev. Cathy Chang, Regional Facilitator for Addressing Migration and Human Trafficking, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) World Mission
Today’s Focus: Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Let us join in prayer for:
PC(USA) Agencies’ Staff
Let us pray:
Gracious and merciful God, you have placed us in relationship to people and places. You overturn our notions of power and poverty, through the examples of women and children. Your Scriptures tell us these stories, and our Nepali friends teach us, too. Help us as individuals and communities to create opportunities for the fullness of life. Amen.