Maiti Nepal25 Mar 2007, by Uncategorized in
Based in Kathmandu, Maiti Nepal was our first NGO partner. 450 trafficking survivors and children of survivors live at Maiti Nepal’s shelter – it is one of the largest shelters in the world. Several hundred other survivors and high risk girls live in short-term residences throughout Nepal. Survivors at Maiti are typically rural Nepali girls who were trafficked into Indian brothels between 10 and 14 years of age.
In fact, it was during a visit to Maiti Nepal that we first got the idea for The Emancipation Network, after asking Maiti’s founder what she most needed help with. Her answer: economic self-sufficiency for the older girls, many of whom are 18 or 19 years old with almost no formal schooling. These older survivors want to be able to live independently
and support themselves, and many also have children to support, but it is difficult to find jobs for them because of the stigma surrounding prostitution in Nepal. However, many of the girls are skilled at traditional handicrafts such as beadwork, so it turned out they already had everything they needed for a self-sufficiency program – except a market in which to sell the products.
Maiti Nepal also engages in large scale public awareness campaigns, legal advocacy, and prevention programs. Maiti survivors and staff operate a modern day Underground Railroad, with survivors taking police and international rescue organizations back into the brothels to rescue others! They also work at prevention stations along the 1000 mile border between Nepal and India, stopping cars with the help of border police, and looking for trafficking situations in progress. Hundreds of girls have been saved through their efforts and some of these nearly-trafficked girls also live at the shelter, until it can be determined that it is safe for them to return home.