Child trafficking: working to live
Each year more than a million children are trafficked — lured away from families with the promise of money and a better life. Some are even forced to go by their parents.
Secretly transported across borders and sold like commodities, or trafficked within countries for the sole purpose of exploitation, these children pay a harsh price for their hopes and dreams.
Trafficking is a crime that violates the basic rights of children, a crime which can — and does — destroy lives.
Across the world, programs have been set up to combat this situation and to rehabilitate the children if they return. Plan is one organization lending a helping hand in countries, like Nepal, where child trafficking is a major challenge.
Every year, a staggering 7,000 to 10,000 Nepalese children are trafficked. Right now, more than 200,000 Nepalese girls are believed to be victims of the “trade” across the border.
Shobha's storyIn the rural district of Rautahat, Nepal where Shobha lives, human trafficking is commonplace.
Women and children, the majority under 18 years old, are routinely trafficked from villages and small towns to big cities and overseas for sex work, cheap labor, forced marriage and organ donation.
Shobha had already been a victim of sexual exploitation before she was helped by a local program supported by Plan in 2002. Plan’s local partners formed an anti-human trafficking project to educate vulnerable young women in Shobha’s village and make them aware of the very real dangers of human trafficking.
The group gave Shobha the motivation she needed to use her initiative and put her energy and skills to use to improve her life and protect herself from further danger and exploitation.
With financial support from Plan Nepal, Shobha was given training in sewing and cutting. After she completed her training she bought a sewing machine with a loan from a local microfinance scheme and started her own tailoring shop.
Shobha worked hard to overcome the community’s negative perception of her — but she did overcome it. Her natural talent, enterprise and hard work have paid off and she now earns a good monthly income and even has a few savings in the bank.
Today, Shobha is married and has earned the respect of her in-laws and her community. And she provides sewing and cutting training to between eight and ten local girls each month, passing on to other vulnerable girls the means to earn a living and protect themselves from danger.
The Plan-supported programs in Nepal are already working. And with our local partners we’re hoping to provide loans and vocational training to 400 more young women who are victims of, or at risk from, human trafficking.
We’re helping them make the most of their existing skills, such as weaving, embroidering or making handicrafts. We’re helping them develop new relevant professional skills, such as basic veterinary skills. Only with a regular income can they protect themselves from exploitation.
With our partners we’re helping to educate whole communities and raise awareness of the dangers of trafficking. We’re seeing communities mobilize – school teachers, village development committee members, local social organizations, NGOs and parents banding together to try and put a stop to human trafficking and exploitation.
Learn more about Plan's work in Nepal.
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Media Statement from Plan International in India Condems Sexual Violence Against Women and Children