Passionate women with strong communication skills are the heartbeat of our work in Nepal. Their intentional voices drive our work forward from start to finish.
The conversation begins with an initial interview conducted by our female agents on the dusty roads leading out of Nepal—but it doesn’t end there. Agents talk extensively with survivors and their families immediately after rescue and teach them about human trafficking.
Sending a survivor home safely might seem like the finish line, but our dialog with her and her family continues.
Strategic next steps
In Nepal, our staff follows up with survivors multiple times in the months after rescue. When a minor is rescued, her parents or guardians receive follow-up communication, and we speak to child survivors with their guardian’s consent.
These points of contact are facilitated through a phone call instead of an in-person visit, so we do not draw attention—and in turn, shame—to the survivor and her family. Our Nepali caseworkers also conduct phone calls with extreme care and attention to emotional and cultural sensitivities.
When Ria, a follow-up caseworker in Nepal, calls survivors, her goal is to make them feel comfortable and ensure they are safe.
First of all, I want to make sure that I don’t hurt them somehow in my conversation,” Ria said.
Backstories brought to light
Sometimes traffickers identify women in unhappy or difficult marriages and leverage their circumstances to lure them out of the country. The shame of secretly traveling away from their husbands, even for a job offer, could damage their family relationships.
Understanding these dynamics could be in play, Ria makes sure a survivor is alone or feels safe to talk before beginning the conversation.
Community shame can have a lifelong impact on an unmarried survivor. If it’s discovered she was traveling alone with a man or pursuing marriage only for the relationship to unravel, her identity and reputation could be seriously impacted back home.
Being a woman, I understand how hard it is for a woman to face the community after they did any mistake,” Ria shared.
If a survivor was sexually abused by their trafficker before rescue, we ensure financial barriers do not prevent her from seeking medical care. Unfortunately, even with the offer of funds and encouragement from our staff, some survivors are so gripped by shame they don’t seek care.
After she makes sure it is safe to chat, Ria begins follow-up calls with light conversation topics, such as asking about the weather and daily life before discussing family and future plans. Caring genuinely for each survivor, Ria extends a level of vulnerability herself to help each girl feel comfortable enough to share her feelings.
She said, “My main aim is to make them understand that we are calling them because we are caring for them.”
Ria continues teaching them about human trafficking and provides counsel as they process what happened and think about their futures. She asks about their relationships and how they are doing. This gives her an opportunity to speak life and hope into the survivor’s circumstances, which were typically strained even before traffickers entered the picture.
Although the work has its share of difficulties, it’s also rewarding.
There are so many cases where survivors’ lives are improving after rescue,” Ria said.
A vital work
Our rescue efforts in Nepal save two to three people from human trafficking every single day. After rescue, follow-up calls help ensure survivors’ continued safety and plant seeds of awareness that are spreading throughout communities.
Although we now have 18 stations established along the Nepal border, there are still crossing points that remain unpatrolled. We have an aggressive expansion plan to add even more border stations over the next few months. These new locations are crucial to sealing the border and protecting thousands of Nepalis from the vicious grip of human traffickers.
Your donations make rescue and freedom possible. You can help seal the border and fund the vital efforts of inspirational staff members like Ria. Be the difference for the next child today.
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Over the last three years, 81.8% of every dollar we spent was used for programs that benefit the children we defend.
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