While USAID’s observation of the annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence ended last week, stories like the one below will continue to occur – and USAID remains committed to working to end human trafficking in Nepal, Asia, and around the world.

“[USAID’s training helped me] take action to protect my own daughter, who was so close to being sold by brokers. I was lucky,” said Sanu Tamang, a resident of Syaule village in Nepal’s Sindhupalchowk district.

Tamang had attended a community orientation training session in May that was organized by USAID’s Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) program. Since 2010, the CTIP program has worked with the Government of Nepal and civil society organizations to address the protection, prosecution, and prevention of trafficking. CTIP is a five-year program implemented in six districts of Nepal, identified by Nepal’s government as source, transit, and exit districts.

Earlier in the year, Tamang’s neighbor, Ravi, had lured Tamang’s daughter and her sister-in-law into travelling to India for an attractive job opportunity. The girls met Ravi in Kathmandu, where he had hired a taxi to drive them across the border into India. Suspecting the movement, an NGO vigilante team and border security force trained under a previous USAID program intercepted the taxi.  While the girls were being questioned, Ravi and his friends escaped.

The girls eventually returned to their family.  Upon returning, they and their family came to fully understand how close the girls had been to being trafficked.  A shocked Tamang, now more aware of the laws and systems to punish traffickers, filed a legal case against Ravi and his friends.  He contacted the USAID-supported national Center for Legal Research and Resource Development for legal aid and counseling to strengthen his case and submitted a report to the police.  An investigation ensued, and Ravi was arrested.

Glad that he was able to take action, Tamang shared, “No trafficker should be able to get away without being punished and no victim deprived of justice.  I want to ensure that traffickers like Ravi don’t get an opportunity to exploit other girls.”

Trafficking in persons is a serious problem in Nepal, with an estimated 15,000 Nepali women and girls trafficked annually to India and another 7,500 trafficked domestically for commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Nepali women become involuntary domestic workers each year within Nepal. While most attention is focused on the exploitation of women and children, cross-border labor trafficking of men is also a growing concern.  Nepal is on the Tier 2 list in the U.S. State Department’s 2011 Trafficking in Persons Report.

For more information on USAID/Nepal’s efforts to prevent trafficking, please visit http://nepal.usaid.gov/our-work/program-area/democracy-and-governance.html.