In August 2018, our staff worked with police and social workers in the metropolitan district of Lalitpur to raid three locations: a restaurant, a snack shop and a sweet shop. We were able to rescue five boys in the raid.
The boys we rescued were aged 12, 13 and 14. They were working washing dishes, serving food and cleaning tables. After being taken to the local police station, the children were formally handed over into our care. When they arrived at our safe house, some of the boys became quite tearful. We reassured them that they weren’t in trouble and were now safe.
The boys are all from remote rural areas – Dhading, Kavre and Makwanpur. One boy told us that his father was an alcoholic and his mother had eloped with another man. He had come to the city via a middleman to earn money but it was the usual story: once at a restaurant, he was trapped and never received more than a few rupees as pocket money.
After the rescue, our staff received threats from the middleman who had sold the boys to the restaurants. This does not happen often, but the work our Nepali team carry out is dangerous. Staff reported these threats to the police and then began the difficult work of tracing the boys’ families in hopes of reuniting them.
After rescue, our staff will try and trace the child’s family. If successful, they will visit the family home to see if it is safe for them to return home. We believe that the best place for children is with their families, but at the same time we must be confident that the child will not be re-trafficked.
After a child has been reunited with their families, we continue to visit them regularly and offer any advice or support needed. In some cases we provide a mobile phone so that we can stay in touch. Where appropriate, we will support families to generate their own income to prevent them being vulnerable to traffickers in the future. We have helped some families to start pig farming, goat rearing, planting crops and tailoring.
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Many children can be reunited with their families soon after rescue. But for some, there may be no close family, or other problems may make an immediate return home impossible. In these cases we look after them in our family style homes. The homes are close together so that children can maintain friendships they established whilst in the safe house. They attend local schools and ongoing contact with families is facilitated and encouraged.
We run a Youth Transition Programme for rescued children that have finished their schooling and need support to transition into adulthood by accessing further education or vocational training. We promote their independence through a tailored programme of support.
Krishna was rescued by CRN in 2010, aged 12, from an Indian juvenile detention centre. It quickly became apparent that Krishna was struggling to perform at school and was having social issues with his peers. He tried twice to pass his final school examinations but unfortunately was not successful.
Keen to secure a stable future for Krishna, CRN enrolled him on a welding course instead. He completed his training successfully and secured work experience, during which his boss was so impressed with his work ethic, Krishna was offered a full-time job at the plant. Krishna is now 21 years old and lives fully independently in Kathmandu near the steelworks.
Krishna says: “I am very fortunate to be supported by Child Rescue Nepal, which has changed my life. I am now earning good money and living independently, and this would not be possible without CRN’s support. I wish CRN could rescue more children and give them a meaningful life.”
During the 2015 earthquake, Deepak’s family lost their home. Shortly after, both of Deepak’s parents passed away. Leaving him to look after his disabled sister, all alone. The situation was desperate.
He was determined to make the best of himself and the situation at hand. Deepak was lured by traffickers claiming that they could provide him with food, shelter and education in Kathmandu. Being enticed by their words, he quickly moved and stayed with the traffickers for two years. He only came to find out that the traffickers were keeping him in an illegal care home for profit. The home was immediately closed. Unfortunately this left Deepak with nowhere to go.
Fortunately, Deepak was referred to us and came to live in our safe house where he returned to his education. He has proven to be so hardworking and committed that he is planning to study medicine at university. His sister is being cared for in special home and they now see each other regularly.
Alone in a foreign country, working under duress and suffering abuse, Mina was only seven years old when we worked with the local authorities to free her and her friends from the Rajkamal Circus in India. We traced her family and supported her through her education.
Mina went on to lead a normal life and made us proud by winning a gold medal in the Nepal National Gymnastic Games. Mina’s strong sense of justice has since led to her pursuing a career in the Nepalese Police Force.
Mina’s future is now not only bright but also secure due to the work we have done to eliminate the trade of Nepalese children into Indian circuses.
Whilst rescuing children from slavery is an important part of our work, preventing children from being trafficked in the first place is far better, and far more cost effective. Recent research shows that 80% of trafficking victims in Nepal have never enrolled in school. We keep children ‘safe in school’ and out of the hands of traffickers through a range of child-centred activities which are proven to improve school attendance rates.
Some children have to walk over an hour to school and arrive hungry. We recently observed a rural school where poor children were bringing in home-made alcohol instead of lunch. Their parents send this in to help their children get through the day as they can’t afford to provide a solid meal. We now fund two schools to provide midday meals for poor students, where attendance in the afternoons is low, to encourage them to stay on for the afternoon session. At Saraswati Primary School, the Principal informed us that attendance increased by 41% after we introduced meals for poor children.
Teaching in Nepal is done by rote, using few resources. The District Education Board has requested that we provide training for teachers in delivering child-centred lessons so that it becomes a more enjoyable experience and children are motivated to attend school. We recently delivered training in how to teach child-friendly lessons to 200 teachers in Makwanpur district, and the transformation in the teachers’ approach has been immediately apparent. The Principal of Mahendra Kiran Secondary School told us that although she had been teaching for over 20 years, this was the first time she had received training in child psychology. “Now I know that if I support children instead of just instructing them, they will be less afraid, ask more questions and learn more.”
Children from the poorest families are unable to buy necessities such as uniforms, shoes and stationery, putting them at risk of dropping out of school due to the shame of being dressed differently to other children or having nothing to write with. We provide the poorest children with one-year bursaries for essentials such as uniforms, bags, exercise books, paper and pencils. Asmita told us “My parents tried to marry me off when I was 13 because they couldn’t afford my education. But since Child Rescue Nepal have been providing educational materials, I have been able to stay in school and learn new things. Now I want to become a teacher.”
Learning to read and write is fundamental to children’s success in school. Sadly, in underfunded schools where the provision of a range of interesting books is financially out of reach, children struggle to learn basic skills like reading. We know that helping young children to enjoy reading independently opens the door to new discoveries, knowledge, creativity and confidence. Reading is the critical route to other subjects as well as a provider of wider opportunities for giving and getting more from life. Children who enter secondary school without the ability to read lack confidence find themselves confused, quickly falling behind. Providing a range of books to primary schools can change this situation. We funded a library in a primary school in Makwanpur and the Principal says it’s acting like a magnet, attracting children to school and keeping them there.
Key to tackling child-trafficking is spreading awareness within communities of how traffickers operate. Sometimes traffickers – are known to a family. In other cases, a trafficker may be a stranger. Recently we have observed that girls are being lured away from their families by traffickers posing as teenage boys and befriending girls over social media. Rural communities have little understanding of the risks their children face every day, and so are helpless to keep them safe. The Ministry of Education has endorsed our anti-trafficking dramas as an effective way to raise awareness. After watching our anti-trafficking drama, post-show surveys demonstrate significantly greater awareness in communities of the tricks used by traffickers.
In Nepal, approximately 30% of girls miss school during their periods with nearly half of these girls choosing to stay home because of lack of a private, clean toilet at school. Often, schools with hundreds of students have only one bathroom for all pupils, and these can be unsanitary places. Girls who attend school are likely to achieve a higher income than those with less schooling. By building separate toilet blocks for girls and boys, we can help keep girls in school and give them a chance of a better future.
In 2018 we supported over 40 schools, keeping 14,990 children safe from traffickers, built 8 new classrooms, trained 250 teachers and distributed 642 bursaries.
Every day we broadcast anti-trafficking messages to remote communities in Nepal via a local radio station. Last year we broadcast twice daily in two languages and estimate that we reached over 100,000 listeners. We broadcast scenarios that highlight the tricks and tactics that traffickers use. This year we have increased our campaign; in addition to Tamang and Chepang we now broadcast in Nepali too. The jingles will be broadcast ten times a day, and we hope that with wider coverage we will be able to keep even more people safe.
To date, we have been instrumental in the jailing of 14 child traffickers.
This work carries considerable risks, and some of our staff have been threatened and attacked because of it.
Through repeatedly pursuing traffickers who sold Nepali children to Indian circuses, we successfully closed down that trafficking route. Because of our work, Nepali children are no longer found in Indian circuses.
Mr and Mrs KM are one of the few couples ever to be arrested jointly in Nepal for trafficking. They were well known traffickers in Makwanpur, and families came to our office naming them as the traffickers when they were searching for their children.
Mr and Mrs KM hid from our staff for two years in Rajasthan, India, protected by the lack of an extradition process between India and Nepal. They were eventually arrested in India when Ambika Circus was raided in 2011.
After their arrest, our senior rescuer liaised between the Nepal police and Interpol making the case for their prosecution. They were arrested after several months and jailed in India. Our team’s work saved many children from a life of labour and abuse.
EBMF has been CRN’s key delivery partner since 1999. Together, we have rescued and reintegrated over 800 trafficked children. We have helped keep 50,000 children safe from traffickers through our ‘Safe in School’ programme and seen 14 traffickers jailed. EBMF also delivers our Youth Transition Programme, supporting young people through further education.
Shakti Samuha is the first organisation established and run by survivors of human trafficking, running youth programs, support groups, education programs and shelter homes for women affected by human trafficking. Child Rescue Nepal partners with Shakti Samuha to run our invaluable girls home, Marigold house, a safe place for girls who have been trafficked to be cared for by staff when it is not safe for them to return home.
VOC is a well-established Nepal charity which was honoured in 2015 for its achievements by Comic Relief. We have worked with VOC on supporting street children who were made homeless as a result of the earthquake in 2015. We also funded VOC to run an awards programme rewarding good practice in fostering in Nepal.