Maiti Nepal: An Advocate Against Trafficking in Persons

Posted by Robert O. Blake
May 28, 2010
Assistant Secretary Blake With Anuradha Koirala in Nepal

About the Author: Robert O. Blake serves as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs.

I wanted to start my blog entries by highlighting one of the most important issues I deal with in South and Central Asia: trafficking in people. This is a grievous harm that impacts thousands of the most vulnerable, particularly women and children, in the region. Nepal has recently stepped up its efforts to prevent traffickers from preying on its population.

I had the honor of visiting Maiti Nepal, a leading crusader against the trafficking of women. The organization, led by the energetic Anuradha Koirala (recently nominated for a CNN Heroes Award), seeks to protect Nepali girls and rehabilitate those rescued from exploitation. Ms. Koirala and her team have done brave work in fighting the rampant trafficking in the region and integrating victims back into society. I am pleased to say that the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu works closely with them.

Hundreds of women and children greeted me when I arrived at the center in Kathmandu. The women who live at the shelter put on a welcoming ceremony in the courtyard, and they rivaled the best Bollywood routines in their enthusiasm. After the ceremony, I heard an extensive briefing on Maiti Nepal's work to prevent trafficking, including its close cooperation with the Government of Nepal to prevent Nepali girls and women from being lured overseas into exploitative jobs. I also heard harrowing stories from three brave girls whom Maiti Nepal rescued and rehabilitated.

I sat down and talked with Ms. Koirala; you can see the video of our conversation here.

I also brought up trafficking when I met Prime Minister Nepal the next day. His response was heartening, and reflects his government's recognition of the gravity of the situation. He described the establishment of an anti-trafficking "desk" in his office, and the placement at border checkpoints of officers who specialize in combating trafficking. Incidentally, those border officers work closely with representatives from Maiti Nepal and other anti-trafficking NGOs -- usually trafficking victims themselves. Prime Minister Nepal told me that he also sought to raise awareness to fight the false impression spread by traffickers that moving overseas would earn girls money and prestige.

While the government of Nepal has taken measures to fight the trafficking networks, Ms. Koirala and Maiti Nepal have bravely led the way.

If you are interested in more information about South and Central Asian Affairs, follow @State_SCA on Twitter.

Comments

Comments

Sarah G.
|
District Of Columbia, USA
May 29, 2010

Sarah G. in Washington, DC writes:

It is wonderful that Assistant Secretary Blake is meeting and working with such formidable organizations, like Maiti Nepal, in an effort to give women the basic human rights they deserve.

OysterCracker
|
United States
May 29, 2010

O.C. in U.S.A. writes:

You never seem to target the big players in organized crime. Why is that? You spend taxpayers money doing this or that but trafficking gets bigger. Why is that? There are organized criminals flying in every day that the government does nothing about. Why is that? You allow all manner of unsavoury criminals to pass freely into our borders then wonder why domestic security is such a threat. Why is that?

Nepal w.
|
United States
June 1, 2010

Nepal K. in USA writes:

The work Maiti Nepal is doing is really praiseworthy. As the girl trafficking is the rampant problem in South Asia, her effort is really helping the girls to re-establish themselves in the society.

Half a million dollar grant by US government would definitely help in restoring peace and stop girl trafficking in Nepal.

Pamela G.
|
West Virginia, USA
June 10, 2010

Pamela G. in West Virginia writes:

The information Secretary Blake provides us is invaluable to understanding the problems,issues and solutions for problems in south and central asia. Having someone so personally involved gives great perspective.

.

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