As Diya waited to board a sweltering public bus one hot spring morning, she expected just another normal (if long) drive to the city. But by the time the bus pulled up to the station, she’d made a decision that would change three innocent lives forever.
While she waited at the station, a nearby group of young women caught her eye. The three teenage girls were traveling with a man who was obviously the leader of the small troupe. Diya noticed that the young women didn’t speak the same language as their host, who was talking business on his phone while they waited.
A bus station in Nepal
But Diya was bilingual, and she knew exactly what he was saying. While the children sat mildly by, their monstrous host negotiated price points—selling them into sexual exploitation.
Planning an Escape
Diya went into action.
When the passengers finally boarded the bus, she made a point of sitting near the young women. As she spoke to them in their native language, she learned that the three girls were all from the same village and were expecting to work good jobs in the city.
It’s a tactic we’ve seen all too often: traffickers target poor or illiterate kids in desperate need of funds and offer them legitimate work in the city, usually as a cook or cleaner in a hotel. The kids, eager for a better life or a way to help their families, jump at the opportunity.
According to the US Department of Labor, children in Nepal are subjected to many of the worst forms of child labor. Aside from commercial sexual exploitation and forced begging, children are often recruited for dangerous forced labor tasks such as quarrying and brick-making. Image is representational
The offer, of course, is a lie. Just as Diya overheard at the bus station, traffickers actually sell the children to brothel owners across the border who pay top dollar for Nepali girls. It is a tragic fact that in some bordering nations, there’s an old belief that sleeping with someone from Nepal brings good luck. Once traffickers drop their unsuspecting victims off at a brothel, the poor kids are rarely heard from again.
Diya wasn’t about to let that happen, not when she could do something about it.
Although the consequences may lead to dangerous fates, crossing some borders in Nepal is as simple as stepping across this brick wall into the grass
Keeping her voice low, she told the girls what she’d overheard their guide say on the phone, warning them that he wasn’t who he seemed. Together, they quietly made a plan of escape. Then Diya made a phone call of her own.
She contacted one of our local rescue agents, revealing that she hoped to escape with three trafficked children soon. Once they decided on a location to meet up, there was nothing left to do but wait for the bus to stop.
When the bus finally arrived at the station in the city, Diya and the girls acted fast. As soon as the group was off the bus, they made a break for it, running into the city before their trafficker could catch up with them. Diya and the survivors met up with our rescue agent, who took the girls and hid them in safe houses while our team worked to contact their families.
A rescued Nepali girl is counseled about the dangers of trafficking
For Diya, the incredibly brave choice to be a part of those girls’ rescue was more than just a spur-of-the-moment decision. She was fulfilling a promise.
Diya is a survivor herself.
Years earlier, Diya, along with her daughter, was rescued from a hellish brothel, not unlike the one these three girls were likely headed for. She knew the harsh realities of brothel life, how constant exploitation crushes hopes and stifles dreams of a better life.
But she also knows from personal experience that there’s a way out. That’s how she knew who to contact: the rescue agent Diya called to help these three girls was the same agent who rescued her and her daughter years ago.
When she accepted our rescue offer, she made a vow to the rescue agent who helped her: she promised that in the future, she’d do whatever she could to help other girls facing the same fate she’d endured.
She was making good on that promise. This wasn’t the first time she’d helped rescue children from traffickers, and it wouldn’t be the last.
While Diya’s bravery is astounding, situations such as these are incredibly dangerous, and we do not recommend attempting rescue without law enforcement guidance.
Diya poses with other girls she helped rescue from traffickers
Diya’s love for these kids pushes her to action despite the incredible risk. Will you also step out for exploited children? Your sacrifice can change everything. Help make an innocent child’s hopes and dreams a reality by filling out the form below.
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