Though human trafficking laws are in place here in Nepal, they are implemented poorly. Numerous NGOs operate though with little coordination. With approximately 7000 men, women,children being trafficked here annually, information gathering is necessary, particularly since this is being done across borders. Its complex and necessitates coordination between many different agencies.
The second challenge is the culture itself. If a young woman has been trafficked and is rescued, its highly unlikely she can return to her village. Stigma runs deep, and many families will not accept her back. Her community sees her at fault, and with no place to return to, she is left alone with no safety net. The rescue coordination, the "safe" houses/hostels, training, healing are all necessary to help these survivors to recreate their family/community and self esteem. The trauma they suffer is all- consuming - emotional, mental, physical.
We spent time with the young women at a "safe" house/hostel today. They were all in different stages of healing and timing after their return to their country/life after being rescued. They were normal young Nepali women - loved to do art, play games, sing and, most specially, dance. We did all of these with them, and they clung to our arms, grabbed our hands to dance, smiled big, were shy, and screamed and laughed, and for a few short hours, maybe were able to see beyond the mire of their lives. Many cried when the time came to part. Estranged from their family, shunned by their community, they are forced to recreate their own.
Shakti Samuha (shaktisamuha.orga), an NGO, supported by their own meager funds, offer these survivors shelter (for as long as necessary as each one needs a differing amount of time to rebuild her life), skills training (computer, sewing, weaving) and a support to rebuild and recreate their lives.
7 of the young women, who have been working for Shakti Samuha for the past 3 years have also been learning how to teach Expressive Healing Arts training during this this time also. And that is what our global group of 12 is doing here in Kathmandu. We have come to support, be guinea pigs for the girls training, and help strengthen their safety net with the Power of Women. And in this past two weeks we have become heart-sisters along the path to wholeness. I have learned so much from them.