Nepal has descended into a state of chaos. It is part of any natural disaster as people struggle to survive, other dangers go unnoticed.
With thousands of lives lost, and many more injured and displaced, relief agencies and governments have swept into the region to try and help the people of Nepal survive the damage. Among the darkness of loss and despair, there is another danger lurking, it paces through the villages of Nepal, waiting to strike at any moment.
Human trafficking is not a new problem in Nepal, but in the wake of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25, there is the growing risk that human trafficking will increase greatly in the days to come.
The risk of human trafficking in Nepal is beginning to manifest itself in two different ways. The first is for those who have lost their protection and security. With the death toll rising above 8,400, many parents have died, leaving behind children who are unprotected and vulnerable. Those who are not cared for are at risk of being swept up by human traffickers into a life that they were not created for. This realization makes orphanages like Good Friends of Nepal even more integral to the recovery of the country. In the coming months it will do more than provide food, water and shelter to those without access to it. It will also provide safety, security and love. Stories have returned from rural regions of men lurking in villages, waiting for unprotected children who wander the streets, constantly searching for new victims who cannot protect themselves.
While those without families are being taken in broad daylight, human traffickers are also claiming lives by offering promises of help and money. Throughout the rural areas of the country, many Nepalese people are living without any aid. With much of the work being focused in the most affected regions, such as Kathmandu, there are entire villages that have collapsed and no help on the horizon. For those who have survived, they are trapped in desperate state. Without shelter, food and water many families are struggling to survive as they pray for help to arrive.
In these moments of desperation, the danger of human trafficking emerges. Traffickers lurk the villages, looking for families in their most desperate state. They will offer assistance to the family, but in exchange for their children. Parents trapped in desperation are forced to chose to sell their children into human trafficking and sexual exploitation. With the Nepalese government struggling to keep pace, many aid agencies and Western media have begun to call for increased border control. It is doubtful that border control will be entirely effective, which means that now more than ever, the rural regions of Nepal need help. Relief and care is needed to ensure that families in desperate situations are not forced to choose to sell their children. Instead of stopping human trafficking after it happens, help is needed to ensure that it is not given the opportunity to happen.
As a local organization, Good Friends of Nepal has been able to begin to reach out to these communities to offer support. Many of the rural communities are hosts to one of the 150 Churches that GFN has planted since 2000 and with national workers already in the village, relief reaches those directly who need it most. You can continue to help Good Friends of Nepal as they battle against human trafficking and loss by visiting the Nepal Earthquake donation page.
Sadly though, human trafficking remains a danger in more countries than just Nepal. This past month we were able to hear from two other partners in India and Moldova who are also fighting to end human trafficking.
For Smita Singh, Director of Mahima Care Homes in India, she has been fighting to save young women and girls from sexual exploitation in Kolkata, India. The city is home to the largest red light district in all of Asia. At the Restored: Hope in Action conference in April, she shared the process her Care Homes go through as they seek to restore victims of human trafficking, providing them with love and care. Likewise, Valdimir Obievolc and Beginning of Life also seeks to rescue victims of human trafficking in Moldova, a country with the highest rate of human trafficking in the world. Inspired by the words of Luke 4, Vladimir and his wife Yulia have dedicated their lives to serving the needy in their communities. Both organizations continue to fight to rescue victims and stop human trafficking by putting the love of Christ at the center of their efforts. Their passion to help has seen hundreds rescued and restored, with many accepting the Good News of Christ and returning to their families and communities.
The fight is a global one. Human trafficking is not limited to one country, it is not even limited to developing countries. Vladimir Obievolc commented, “it happens everywhere, even here in Canada.”
As the threat begins to emerge in Nepal, we must continue to fight bring an end to human trafficking and to bring to restoration to those who have been victims of it.