How We Stopped a Human Trafficking Network

Your Impact: Donor and Volunteer-Founded Program Bears Fruit

To stop human trafficking, you have to put yourself in the position of the people who are most vulnerable to it. Here’s where you start:

What would you do if you had zero job opportunities in your hometown, and your family depended on you?

That’s the predicament ‘Nisha’ found herself in a few years back. Like many Nepali women (and men), she was desperate. Farm and manual labor jobs are about the only option for many, but there aren’t nearly enough of them, especially in the more rural areas of Nepal.

A relative of Nisha’s told her about a special program that helps place people in jobs in other countries. These programs are called manpower companies, or job brokers.

The government also offers a way to gain foreign employment (over 10% of Nepal’s population works in other nations). Good jobs can be found and many Nepalis are able to send hundreds of dollars a month back to their families. Some of these jobs are real, and offer well-paying legitimate employment. (Read Part 1 of this series to learn more about how the foreign job market becomes a path to human trafficking).

The problem is, using the government’s Department of Foreign Employment is slower and more expensive. There are fees and paperwork to deal with.

For someone like Nisha who is desperate and needs help now, the allure of a simpler pathway to a good job in another country like India or the Arab world is hard to suppress. And she didn’t have the money to pay the fees.

So when her relative told her about this fast-track jobs program, she was ready to jump on the opportunity. No need for fees, and no paperwork hassles.

But one thing stopped her.

She had attended a seminar put on by the Women’s Protection Center. The seminar was a human trafficking awareness program spearheaded by WPC program coordinator Ram Mijar.

Our Solution to Human Trafficking – Expose Their Methods

In this seminar, Nisha had learned how to stop human trafficking where it happens – at the point of ‘sale’. The power was now in her hands, and she was ready to use it.

She was taught how illegal job brokers operate. The tactics they use. How they make their programs sound legitimate, but just a faster and easier way to get a job. Nisha was shown how these illegal brokers are really just fronts for human trafficking networks.

The lack of fees and paperwork are real. The problem is that without a paper trail, no one knows where you are. And it won’t be long before you find yourself a thousand miles away in India, or five thousand miles away in Qatar, and no one speaks your language except your boss. And when this boss confiscates your passport, garnishes (or just steals) your wages to pay kickbacks to the guy who sent you here, and demands that you work 16-hour days with no overtime pay, you realize too late that you’re trapped.

With no paper trail, you can’t contact anyone, and no one can contact you. If you try to fight it, you’ll get beaten or threatened. Every year, hundreds of Nepalis get sent home from jobs like this – in body bags. They get worked to death and make no money. And their families get no help.

Nisha had been to one of our human trafficking awareness seminars. She had been told all this. So when her own relative tried to pitch her one of these schemes, she recognized it immediately.

“My relative is trying to sell me,” she realized.

What Would You Do?

Now in that situation, different people would do different things. Some would run away. Some would just turn him down and look for another way. But Nisha?

She turned him in.

And when the authorities investigated his illegal foreign jobs operation, they uncovered a huge human trafficking network that went all the way to India, and that had been operating for years.

Hundreds if not thousands of people have been tricked, sold, and exploited by this group. And thanks to Nisha – and the human trafficking awareness program your donations are helping to continue spreading the word – this network has been taken down.

There’s now one less human trafficking network ruining people’s lives thanks to you and Nisha.

How to Stop Human Trafficking

Fighting human trafficking begins with awareness of the problem. But to really stop it, ultimately you’ve got to cut it off at the source. People have to be brought to justice. There’s no other way. But how do we catch these people, especially when they’re hiding in shady foreign backwater areas?

We catch them by teaching the people they prey on how to recognize them and steer clear of them.

That’s one thing WPC Nepal’s human trafficking awareness program does. Jennifer Schauer, a volunteer (now board member) who worked with Ram and others on WPC’s staff on this program, is thrilled to see it expanding. Here’s how she describes it:

“WPC is currently tackling awareness in a few different ways. We present to women’s groups and various communities about human trafficking, explaining the warning signs and ways to seek support. We also facilitate educational seminars in rural schools to school children, reaching the outskirts of the communities that are most affected.

Finally, our staff in Nepal volunteers at the district office to ensure individuals applying for work abroad are aware of the risks involved with international labor and the importance of the permitting process. They counsel around 200 people per month. People have to visit this desk before they are approved to travel outside of Nepal. It is really effective.

In the future, we plan to develop a network of women who can be a resource in their own communities and advocate for the children on a more consistent basis. I am really excited about this new plan.”

Would you like to volunteer in Nepal like Jennifer?

As more of the most vulnerable people in Nepal learn to recognize a trafficker’s deceptive offers for working abroad, fewer people will be trafficked and have their lives destroyed.

If you want to stop human trafficking, then help expand WPC’s Awareness Program, and you’ll be directly empowering the people who meet these traffickers face to face.

Nisha’s story is just one example of what can happen when you take the fight against human trafficking personally. Most of the stories won’t be quite that dramatic. They’ll be really simple:

“I met with this person who offered me a job overseas. I could tell this was a bad situation and that I was being lied to. So I turned it down.”

Done. End of story. Trafficker neutralized.

When enough people can spot their lies, we will stop human trafficking. It will slowly disappear into the night as the opportunities to exploit people’s poverty and desire for a better life diminish.

Help more Nepalis learn how to stop human trafficking when it knocks on their door!

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