Responding to child trafficking in Nepal

Earlier this year, Viva’s partner network CarNet Nepal co-hosted a three-day conference aimed at envisioning pastors from 48 churches in the Nuwakot district to respond to the issues of human trafficking in their communities.

As many as 10,000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked across the border to India each year with an estimated 100,000-200,000 Nepali trafficked persons currently living in India.

Sindhupalchok and Nuwakot districts have the highest rates of trafficking in the country. There is a high migration of children, young girls and families to the city for employment and other purposes, which increased following the April 2015 earthquake.

Risk of trafficking occurs when a family does not have even the basic needs for life. Parents are easily convinced to entrust their children, especially daughters, to brokers who promise high-paying jobs in the cities so they can send money back to their families. The girls, however, are often then imprisoned in brothels and forced to provide sex to the brothel’s clients.

In this context, the Church can play a role in preventing trafficking from happening and in the rehabilitation of survivors. The conference helped church leaders to focus on the issues of trafficking and consider what the Bible says about social justice, helping the marginalised, supporting families and bringing people to restoration.

For almost all the participants, this was their very first experience of hearing about the role of the Church to respond to trafficking issues. One attendee said, “The Church can reach where NGOs and the government cannot. It should bring transformation and encourage its people to work against human trafficking.”

To reinforce the messages of the conference, a smaller training session was held for 20 pastors and leaders to prevent human trafficking and child sexual abuse in their communities. An action plan was created to raise awareness through public events and through door-to-door visits, and, since then, several hundred people have been reached with messages every month. The network has also led training for students at a secondary school in Urleni, Nuwakot.

This article first appeared in Life magazine, issue 10