Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration are very big problems being faced by our country at present. Each year, thousands of youth leave the country and go abroad in search of greener pastures. However, as many people are unaware and uneducated, they end up becoming victims of human trafficking due to unsafe migration practices.
It is the dream of each and every individual to achieve something in life and to succeed. It is no different for the people living in the rural areas of our country, who want to earn money and improve their living standards. Due to lack of job opportunities in our country, people flock to foreign lands in the hopes of a better future. However, what they don’t know is that unsafe migration practices can land them up in deep trouble. Many people realize they have been duped by agents who lured them with good job prospects, only when they reach the foreign country and are not given jobs as promised. Instead they are made to do hard laborious jobs which endangers their health and sometimes even puts their lives on the line. Similarly, many young girls and women are forced into prostitution or have ended up becoming victims of sexual abuse. We, being educated, are aware about such issues but such practices are still rampant in the villages and rural areas of Nepal.
In this context, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a team and participate in an awareness raising program in rural villages in Jhapa and Morang, earlier this month. Such places have high incidences of Human Trafficking and Unsafe Migration due to their close proximity to the open border that our country shares with India, which was quite evident during our visit to the villages. One such program was conducted for the youth of a village in Morang at their school as well. The villagers were very welcoming and they were interested to gain knowledge regarding such issues . Even though the awareness programs were one day long in each village, the participants were enthusiastic and listened attentively. It was a good experience for me to be able to witness rural life and to get to hear first hand about the problems that they face.
Many women talked about gender disparities and it was good to see them vocalizing their opinions and concerns. Many also came forward to share how their family members and friends have become victims of unsafe migration practices and human trafficking. There are organizations working to help such people and many have been able to reunite with their long lost family members after facing many kinds of hardships in a foreign land. However, everyone is not that lucky and it is indeed sad that many people return home in coffins, which is truly devastating for the family members. Although it might take a long time to put a complete stop to Human Trafficking, people in the villages are slowly becoming aware about such issues.
As a part of the awareness program, we were accompanied by a staff of Radio Nepal who was there to gather information directly from the villagers regarding their woes and sufferings. If you are interested to hear personal stories and expand your knowledge and understanding about such social issues, you can tune in to Radio Nepal, every Friday at 06:10 PM and listen to the 15 minute program “Sachetana” (translation: Awareness). Progress takes place one step at a time and spreading awareness is bound to bring positive changes in our county in the long run.