Can you help us rescue 30 more children from slavery in 2021?
This Christmas, due to the effects of Covid-19, many of us will be temporarily separated from our loved ones. But few will feel this weight as heavily as those in Nepal. The economic hardship of lockdown has torn families apart as they struggle to survive, giving increased opportunities for traffickers to take advantage.
Girls in Nepal are extremely vulnerable to being trafficked. According to shocking new research, 50% girls may not return to school after lockdown. Some will leave their families to try and find work in the city. Hoping for a fresh start and a basic wage, many are tricked into exploitation.
When Sita* left home, she knew the road ahead would be hard. But what awaited her was worse than she could ever have imagined.
Sita’s world fell apart when her parents died. She moved to a remote village to live with her grandparents, but they were already struggling to survive. Out of desperation, Sita dropped out of school to help with the household chores. When one of her friends suggested they run away to find a well-paying job in the city, and she left without hesitation.
Sita arrived in Kathmandu with high hopes. She could finally support her grandparents and give them an easier life. She found a job at a snack bar doing cleaning work. It seemed like the fresh start she’d been hoping for, but the reality was quite different. Before long, the owner started making her serve alcohol, but it didn’t stop there. Late at night he sold her off to customers who touched and assaulted her. She was terrified and had nowhere to turn.
Luckily our partners Shakti Samuha were on a monitoring visit in the area. An older girl told them she had seen Sita working late at night. The team contacted the local police, and they rescued her the same day.
When Sita arrived at Marigold House, she was very traumatised. She received counselling as she started her long journey of recovery. The latest news is after a few months of recovering in our safe home, our staff successfully traced Sita’s family. With our specialised support, she has safely returned home. Our staff check on her progress regularly and report that she is doing well and will be attending her local school as soon as it reopens.
Can you help us rescue more girls like Sita?
With an estimated 23,000 women and girls trafficked in Nepal every year, Sita’s experience is not unique. The simple truth is that if we hadn’t found her, she might still be there. Faced with stigma and shame, many girls keep quiet about their abuse. They are fearful of their abusers and live under the threat of violence. Evidence shows that trafficking has increased under COVID-19 restrictions, meaning more girls are at risk than ever before.
Every penny you give will help save even more girls from a life of fear and give them back their childhoods. Just £36 pays for a week of care in at Marigold House, our home for survivors of sexual abuse. Here, girls like Sita can receive medical attention and counselling, as they rebuild their lives.
To date, your generosity has enabled us to rescue over 850 children from a life of exploitation. This Christmas, please help us to change more young lives and give the gift of hope and freedom.