People Against Sex Trafficking

By Natalie Ryan

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Proposal

People Against Sex Trafficking works to fight sex trafficking of women between Nepal and India. Our group will donate the $500,000 to Eternal Threads, specifically for their Red Thread Movement, which provides safety and employment for Nepalese women and girls saved from sex trafficking at the Indian border. With this money our group can assist the organization in building a fifth safe house where Eternal Threads can continue to rehabilitate and educate even more women that are saved from trafficking. These safe houses provide shelter and employment for these girls until they are prepared to support themselves. With the money that is left over from the safe house Eternal Threads can build as many more border stations between India and Nepal as possible. These stations are where girls being taken across the border are interviewed to determine if they are victims of trafficking, and if so they can be taken to one of the safe houses when unable to return home. They currently have thirteen border stations (Anti-Trafficking Work, 2), but hope to eventually be able to cover the whole border.


By increasing the number of border stations more girls will be given the chance of a better future, rather than being forced into a life of sex slavery. Adding more safe houses will be providing education and awareness of the issue to Nepal while also providing safety for thousands of young girls. More women will receive an education and job training in the safe houses which will help them gain more power in a society where they have very little. This program also works to empower victims of sex trafficking and teach them how to support themselves economically. This gives them a chance to make a difference in other women’s lives and spread knowledge and empowerment to those who need it.

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One of the safe houses in Nepal where girls are provided with shelter, counseling, education and job training, and love.

Background

What is sex trafficking?

Sex trafficking is the use of “violence, threats, lies, debt bondage, and other forms of coercion to compel adults and children to engage in commercial sex acts against their will” (Sex Trafficking). Examples include forced marriages and, more commonly, prostitution (Types of Human Trafficking).


Some statistics:

  • About 80% of human trafficking victims are females and up to 50% are minors (Facts).
  • “The average age of entry into the sex trade industry is 13 years old” but can be as young as five years old (Facts).


Why does sex trafficking happen?
  • False promises of employment or marriage and a better life if the victim will go with the trafficker. For example, a woman being offered a high-paying job then ending up being forced to work in a brothel in India (Kingdom Investment).
  • Victims can be sold by their families, sometimes as debt bondage. This is when a woman in the family is sold to a trafficker in return for paying off the family’s debt.


Why is it so common in Nepal specifically?
  • Patriarchal society with a lot of institutionalized sexism which results in women having very little power in Nepal (Stallard, 2.2).
  • The majority of women in Nepal are uneducated and illiterate. The early childhood education attendance rate is around only 31% for females (Stallard, 2.2).
  • A lot of poverty leads to a feeling of hopelessness and a belief that there is no other choice. A woman can also be seen as a burden in the family because she cannot support herself economically which puts her at risk of being sold (Stallard 2.2).

About 12,000 women are trafficked over the border from Nepal into India each year (Anti-Trafficking Work). This border is a highway about 600 miles long with open borders so anyone can travel between Nepal and India with no passports or visas (Trafficking in Nepal). Eternal Threads has 13 border stations along this highway to save women from human trafficking. They save up to 15 girls per month per border station. That adds up to over 2,000 a year, which is a huge chunk of the 12,000 that go across each year (Trafficking in Nepal).
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These are pictures of the border stations. Each station has women in these purple dresses who watch all day long for girls being taken across the border. These women interview the girls to determine if they are victims of human trafficking, and if so, whether they need to be sent to a safe house.

Action Plan

People Against Sex Trafficking will give the $500,000 to Eternal Threads to assist them in building a fifth safe house. With the money that is left over Eternal Threads will be able to build as many more border stations as possible between Nepal and India.

Rationale

This will be a worthwhile cause because it will affect so many young women in Nepal alone, and this large of a change will most definitely spread. It can be seen how quickly other countries will follow Nepal’s lead because it has happened before with other countries. Sweden created laws to fight sex trafficking including the Kvinnofrid law which “makes it illegal to buy sex, but not to sell sex" (Jesionka). The hope was that this law would decrease instances of human trafficking and the demand for prostitution. "After being widely debated, the law was later adopted by Norway and Iceland, though measuring the impact of the laws has still been difficult” (Jesionka). Even if this law was not successful at reducing incidences sex trafficking, it was successful at getting other countries involved and talking about the issue. By showing less tolerance for trafficking in Nepal, more countries will follow and changes will spread.

Theoretical Analysis

This solution aligns more with the social conflict perspective of sociology because the root cause is inequality. There is a lot of educational inequality which leads to poverty, and eventually trafficking, because those who do not get an education have a harder time finding jobs. The inability to find jobs can lead to another problem, economic inequality. This often results in families selling members who cannot work and are seen as a burden. Many of these “burdens” are women because of the gender inequality there. Nepal is a patriarchal society so it is harder for women to get an education and a job. Traffickers target women living in poverty and their families because they will do almost anything for a better life and will be more easily tricked or bribed into going with them.

Political Analysis

This plan would be supported by conservative politicians because it is more about individual empowerment and less about government interference. This proposal does not include any changes in policy and would not involve the government's help. Even if the government in Nepal did make laws against sex trafficking or laws protecting women, they would not be able to enforce them. Nepal is very rural and spread out which makes law enforcement much more difficult. With our plan more women would learn to believe in themselves and would get basic skills they need to make a living on their own. This will help get to the root cause of the problem of sex trafficking rather than making laws that will not fix anything.

More about Eternal Threads and The Red Thread Movement

Red Thread Movement Promo
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A girl at a safe house being comforted by Linda, the founder of Eternal Threads, after telling her story to an interviewer about her experience there. The girl says "I learned a lot when I came here. I learned a skill. I found the love that had not been a part of my life. I was so loved. I cannot even express how much I was loved...I want to be an example for other girls. I want to encourage others that they could learn this skill that I’m learning" (Category Archives).
Join the Red Thread Movement

Works Cited/Bibliography

"Anti-Trafficking Work In Nepal - Eternal Threads." Eternal Threads. Eternal Threads. Web. 16 Jan. 2016. <http://eternalthreads.org/anti-trafficking-work-nepal/>.


"Category Archives: Nepal." Red Thread Movement. WordPress, 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <https://redthreadmovement.wordpress.com/category/nepal/>.


"Facts On Slavery." Red Thread Movement. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <http://www.redthreadmovement.org/facts-on-slavery.html>.


Jesionka, Natalie. "What's Being Done to Stop Human Trafficking?" The Muse. The Muse. Web. 17 Jan. 2016. <https://www.themuse.com/advice/whats-being-done-to-stop-human-trafficking>.


"Kingdom Investment Nepal." Kingdom Investment Nepal. 8 Aug. 2014. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <http://www.kinepal.org/web/uncategorized/why-and-how-does-trafficking-happen/>.


"Sex Trafficking." Polaris. Polaris, 13 Oct. 2015. Web. 17 Jan. 2016. <https://polarisproject.org/sex-trafficking>.


Stallard, Roisin. "Child Trafficking in Nepal: Causes and Consequences."Child Reach International. Childreach International, 1 Oct. 2013. Web. 17 Jan. 2016. <https://www.childreach.org.uk/sites/default/files/imce/Child-trafficking-in-Nepal-Causes-consequences-and-education-as-prevention.pdf>.


"Trafficking In Nepal." Red Thread Movement. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <http://www.redthreadmovement.org/trafficking-in-nepal.html>.


"Types of Human Trafficking." Southern Arizona Against Slavery. 20 Dec. 2010. Web. 18 Jan. 2016. <http://saastucson.com/about-human-trafficking/types-of-human-trafficking/>.