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October, 2009

THE LIGHT The Official Newsletter of Tiny Hands

Border Monitoring Developments


FIGHTING TO PROTECT Four years ago, Bishnu and I heard about the 26 official crossings along the Nepal-India border across which 10,000 girls a year are trafficked and that only ten of these crossings were covered by NGO border monitoring stations. Those stations, we learned, intercepted more than 1,500 girls each year and prevented them from being trafficked. Our hearts burned for this work as we read the accounts of what happened to innocent girls who were trafficked. "Those other 15 crossings are for us!" Bishnu told me, and we began making preparations to do border monitoring work. We decided to work through churches, forming local subcommittees to manage and oversee the work. This would help us gain an immediate inroad into the local area, including local knowledge, connections, and an alreadyestablished community. And it would help us fulfill our vision of empowering the church to help the oppressed. We started in Janakpur, in August 2006, under the leadership of Jayprakash Mandal, pastor of Janakpur Friends Church. The first year we intercepted 18 girls. After some initial success, we expanded the work there. At one point we had increased the number of staff to ten, and we were monitoring five different border crossings in the area. This work went on, slowly without much fanfare. We were intercepting just a handful of girls every year. Most months we would not intercept any. We didn't have pictures in most cases, and the work was very remote. We would hear nothing except an email report with the name and age of the girls, and a brief description of what happened. Often

the Precious Daughters of Nepal Border Monitoring to Stop Trafficking | 10 |


Prayer Works A Revitalization of Our Border Monitoring Work Beings With Prayer "...loose the chains of injustice...set the oppressed free, and

Frequently Asked Questions Isa 58:6 we would get a copy of a newspaper article about some intercept that our staff had performed. But even these were in Nepali, and on the whole, we (Tiny Hands International) felt very isolated from it. One day Doug told me he felt that we were "throwing money away down there." This triggered a passionate defense of this work by me, and led to the calculation that it had been costing us only $97 to intercept one girl. This led to a push by our board of directors and U.S. staff to expand. We started looking for the right places. We briefly opened a station in a place called Krishnanagaar, after another NGO pulled out, but soon the NGO came back, and we closed it down. We started working in a place called Thori Madi (a place so remote, that our method of communicating was someone who met with someone from the church that oversaw the work at a church gathering every couple of months) but there was little fruit. We had several false starts trying to open in a place called Rajbiraj, but the bottom line was that we couldn't figure out where to work. We couldn't even figure out where the other NGO's were working. At one point, we actually hired a woman whose full-time job for three months was to research where other NGO's were. Though we visited some of these offices a dozen times, or more, still we couldn't find out. But the work went on. We were perpetually in a state of

What is Sex Trafficking? Sex trafficking is the process of deceitfully transporting people across international borders for the purposes of sex work. Because it is by nature deceitful, the victims do not realize what they are getting into. And once they are in their destination country they are powerless to seek justice because they don't know the culture or speak the language. This creates a situation in which innocent girls can be ruthlessly exploited by those seeking pleasure or money at their expense. How do Girls Get Sold? Nepali girls are most often tricked by traffickers offering high paying good jobs in India. Traffickers will also "marry" girls in order to traffic them, and then abandon them in a brothel. The trafficker will collect a fee from the brothel-owner, who will tell the girl that she has been sold and she must pay back the price spent to traffic her before she is free. In most cases, this takes many years. Too often, by the time the girl is allowed to leave the brothel, her youth and innocence have been spent, and she may have HIV. What Is a Border Monitoring Station? A Tiny Hands border monitoring station consists of a subcommittee made up of local Christians from churches nearby an important border-crossing.

This subcommittee hires and

oversees 2-10 staff members, who stand on the border from morning until evening every day, looking for signs of trafficking. The border is "open", meaning that passports are not required to cross it

which means there are many people just

walking across it all day without being stopped. Our staff will look for certain signs of trafficking, and stop and question anyone who exhibits those signs. We work with the police to apprehend traffickers and stop trafficking. Though the police are already present at these bordercrossings, they are focusing on many other things besides trafficking, and they are also notoriously corrupt. The presence of our staff prevents the police from being corrupt and gives a few

Border crossings

extra sets of eyes looking for signs of trafficking.

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planning-to-start-in-Rajbiraj-next-week. But nothing happened. Our number of intercepts in Janakpur slowed almost to a standstill. It had been almost 5 months since we'd had a single intercept.

A Team Effort

God made it work out so that there could be no doubt that the glory belonged to Him.

PROJECT 58 It started with a conference call between THI Vice President Mike O'Hara, Director of Advocacy and Development Paul Yates, and Doug Dworak, our Administrative DiWhen I finally got a hold of Mike, he said that he had been chewed out by Doug and Paul for two hours. They were frustrated by the lack of communication and information. "There is so much support available for trafficking," they were saying, "but we aren't organized enough to channel it." I felt like we'd been doing all we could here in Nepal, and doors just weren't opening. A dialogue started about how we could improve this work. On February 22nd, we started an initiative that would be called "Project 58." It began with a commitment to prayer. All our staff in the U.S. and Nepal began fasting and praying every Wednesday for trafficking, and for our work. In Nepal, we watched the movie "The Day My God Died," together with all our staff at my house. Afterwards no one could speak. We all wanted to cry. We sat in silence. We all felt that we had to do something. We had to do more. The next day, on February 22nd, a manifesto went out to all our staff with the Title "Project 58." These words were in the introduction: Today around 30 Nepali girls were trafficked into India to be forced into the sex industry. Tomorrow, 30 more will be trafficked. By that time, those who were trafficked today will be awaking to the realization of what has happened to them. They will be locked up, beaten, and raped until they give in and accept the hell that will thereafter be their life. Meanwhile, as these girls continue to suffer, more will be added to their number, at the rate of 2-3 girls every waking hour and this will continue until the ure out a way to make their work more effective. To the be saved from this horrible fate. While you are working on anything relating to this project, and when you sit down to work and you are diverted and distracted by obstacles and cares, remember the faces of the girls that you know are in brothels now, and those whose lives is in danger of being wrecked if we do not stop it. And fight, on behalf of your God and His love for

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Project 58 got off the ground when five of our staff (left to right: Rhoman Goyenechea, Bhola Acharya, Dipak Tamang, Suren Sapkota, and Dipendra Jaiswal) each took a journey to a different section of the border. During these trips, we learned much about the situation along the border. The knowledge gained from these trips would be the foundation upon which our expansion would be built.

these girls, against every instinct in you to give less than your absolute best, against every obstacle that you will encounter (and you will encounter many) and every frustration that comes your way (and many will come), fight. Do not be deterred by anything, do not let anything stop you from succeeding in each part of this work that you take on. Keep before you always the faces of the girls, and Christ in them, and remember His words and promises, and that He will go before you and after you, and help you. There was a new sense of desperation among everyone a commitment to make this work effective. We pulled all of our support staff in Kathmandu from whatever else they were working on and set them on Project 58. Our American staff in Kathmandu, Rhoman, was particularly helpful during the early days of Project 58. He had come to Nepal because he wanted to be involved in fighting trafficking, and the two of us made it our first priority to inspire the rest of the staff, to break their hearts about trafficking, as our hearts had been broken. We collected every book, pamphlet, and report that we could on trafficking, and began passing them around to our staff. Everyone was learning a ton, and becoming passionate about it. A former church-planter named Bhola Acharya (who had been translating some things for us and happened to have been at the Bible study when we introduced Project 58) wanted to do anything he could to get involved with this work. "I am so thrilled with this vision," he told me. Soon we hired him on a provisional 3-month contract along with a college student named Surendra Sapkota. Surveys were designed and distrib-


Named from a passage in Isaiah 58, Project 58 was the name we gave to the renewal of efforts to make our border monitoring work effective that began at the end of February of this year.

Before Project 58: 61 Girls Intercepted in 32 months (2 / month) Since Project 58: 357 Girls Intercepted in 4 months (89 / month) uted and informational flyers were put together, along with maps of the local areas and the whole border. Border Monitoring Standards were being translated, printed, and sent around; brochures, posters, and stickers to raise awareness about trafficking were being printed. We put up signs along well-traveled routes. Rhoman and I must have covered every square inch of the border on Google Earth, trying to understand what things looked like along the border. In April, five of our staff went in five directions, each covering a section of the border, to fill out surveys, fill in maps, and interview police, rickshaw drivers, and NGO's. They returned with a wealth of information. We began compiling all they had learned, and working to create a list of the highest-priority locations for our future work. We listed, voted, and ranked the twenty most important places to begin working. During this process, it became clear that Bhola was the natural visionary leader of the group. At 44, he was the most senior, and proved to be hard working, intelligent, and extremely well-connected with the church along the border. Soon Bhola (along with Suren and Rhoman for part of his journeys) began travelling along the border, sharing our vision with churches. He took two trips: one to eastern Nepal and one to far-western Nepal. Over the next month, he covered the entire border, setting up eight new subcommittees which would oversee 11 new locations. The subcommittees took a couple of weeks to find staff (they started with two each). We arranged training for our staff, and began preparing to start working (two more locations would be added in each of the next two months).

TINY HANDS NEPAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING TIMELINE

18 Girls Intercepted

20 Girls Intercepted

190

51

94

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Intercepts by Month August 2006 to August 2009

26 Girls Intercepted

February 22nd: It Started With Prayer Project 58 is launched with our U.S. and Nepali staff agreeing to begin praying and fasting every Wednesday for victims of trafficking.

Summer March

May

*Five of our staff each visit different sections of the border. *We research and analyze the entire border within two weeks, and compile reports on every stretch. *We come up with a list of the top 20 places where border monitoring is needed.

*Bhola shares our vision in several churches along the border in Eastern Nepal. *Five new subcommittees are formed. *We hold training sessions in Eastern and Western Nepal. *Work starts in six places.

April *Bhola shares our vision in several churches along the border in Western Nepal. *Three new subcommittees are formed.

*16 Girls are intercepted.

June *Work starts in 2 more places.

*51 Girls Intercepted July

*94 Girls Intercepted August *A new station opens. *Two ineffective stations are closed.

*190 Girls Intercepted.

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Meanwhile, back in the U.S., Doug and Paul had been busy trying to figure out how to pay for all this. At just that time, things were coming together for an anti-trafficking conference at Westover Church, in North Carolina. Emily Hunt, a former Tiny Hands volunteer and Taylor student had been a part of the planning for this conference for several months. It was a great opportunity for us, and the timing was almost perfect.

New Border Staff Training Those were exciting days. We all felt like we were in the middle of something big, and not sure what was going to happen. Just after the conference and after we had opened up several new stations, emails and phone calls would go around every day: anything today? No, nothing yet. Two days passed, then three. And then we started getting intercepts. Two in far Western Nepal. Three in Eastern Nepal. The numbers increased. Every day we were getting intercepts: 3, 5, 2, 7, 11, 3. Story after heartbreaking and inspiring story was coming out of it. Heroic acts of our border guards boldly grabbing traffickers and dragging them back to the police (in some cases, even going across the border and bringing them back), sorrowful testimonies of the victims, heart-warming reports of reunions with thankful parents who had been worried sick over their lost daughters. It was almost every single day. And it did not slow down. It kept speeding up. The numbers kept pouring in. Currently, we have a list of 20 more places that we think this work is needed on the wall of the War Room in our office, next to a map with pins marking our and other NGO's current border monitoring stations. As we are striving to improve our existing stations and make them as effective as possible, we are also praying for the resources to start work in those other places. But now God has shown us what an important role prayer must play for this work to be effective. Of course, it has taken a lot of work from a lot of people as well: a few dozen people praying, over a hundred subcommittee

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members working on a volunteer basis, risking their lives and safety to obey Christ's call to "the least of these," and close to 50 full-time staff who stand in the hot sun dayafter-day watching for signs of trafficking. The odds are against us. The border is too long and too porous, and we are too few people, with too few resources. We are always fighting against corrupt power. Traffickers are often simply released by the police if they have the right connections, or pay the right bribes. We've even been hindered in the work by corrupt NGO workers. Our staff and subcommittee members have been threatened and beat up, and they live under the continual implicit threat of opposing the evils of the sex trafficking industry. But we are reminded in the face and the fact of each girl that we intercept, why this issue is always worth giving more of ourselves. Each girl's story is unique and many are heartbreaking. Though some girls are still under the sway of their traffickers when they cross the border, many have been raped and beaten by their traffickers en route. All are thankful when they come to understand the truth about trafficking. In June we intercepted an 8 year old boy who was drugged. We believe he was being trafficked for body parts. Later that month our staff in another location stopped a 9 year old boy being trafficked. We have intercepted dozens of girls who were under 15 years old, including several as young as 12. Our staff have followed tips from locals and gone and tracked down traffickers where they are hiding. They have gone after traffickers across the border into India Local Subcommittees like this one oversee all of our border monitoring stations and brought them back. They have forcibly caught traffickers who tried to run away and dragged them back to the police station. We have had dozens of tearfully thankful parents come to pick their daughters up. All this just reminds us why we do this work. Because each girl is precious, because Christ tells us to meet Him in the "least of these," and because the young, innocent victims of sex trafficking, in those trembling few moments when they are being trafficked, are the most desperate but helpable people in the world.


Bhola For many years, we have been praying and looking for the right person to oversee our border monitoring work in Nepal. We wanted someone who was mature, well-connected and respected in many Nepali churches, willing to travel, hardworking, and wise. Bhola Acharya has worked for several years as a church planter, and through that work he is well-connected with churches along the border. Since Bhola was hired as "Border Monitoring Director," his passion for this work and determinedness to see it become effective has been a key element in the success of Project 58. Time and time again as Bhola has travelled along the border to do this work, God has prepared the way ahead of him, opening up the roads after a multi-day strike the day he decides to travel, and closing them down the day after he returns and putting a vision-for-trafficking into the hearts of Bhola Acharya those we would meet along the way.

ONE GIRL The abolition of slavery in the West during the 19th century began with Christians praying. In the same way, we believe that prayer will be an important part of the eradication of modern-day sexual slavery. That's why we started One Girl: to encourage at one of the 10,000 little girls who are victims of Nepal-India sex trafficking each year. Everyone who participates in this spiritual battle will receive a One The bracelet’s braided black Girl bracelet. The bracelet serves as a band represents the darkness reminder to pray for a girl who is vulnerand bondage of trafficking. The able to trafficking. These bracelets have stone represents your “adopted been handcrafted by the girls residing in girl”. It’s gold color represents the Princess Home, a Tiny Hands home for light of God's hope. girls who have been victims of the Kathmandu sex industry. You will also receive up-to-date reports, stories and testimonials from our border monitoring stations and restoration homes, and you will be invited to participate in designated days of prayer where staff and volunteers of Tiny Hands and members of One Girl pray (and fast) for the victims of trafficking. You will also be asked to donate only $10 each year to participate in the One Girl initiative. Your support will directly benefit Tiny Hands efforts to fight One of the Princesses making a One this greatest injustice of our genera- Girl bracelet. tion. Your prayers and support will help us eradicate sex slave trafficking in and from Nepal. Information about how to join One Girl can be found at:

A Tiny Hands border guard inspecting a bypassing rickshaw.

Sarita Sarita K.C. herself narrowly escaped being a victim of trafficking. Now she wants to make sure that traffickers are brought to justice, and that other girls don't have to suffer the fate that she so narrowly avoided. Widowed at a young age, Sarita was left to fend for herself and her children. A friend tried to set her up with a mechanic, and she agreed to marry him. When she went to stay with Sarita K.C. her husband-tobe, she was locked in a room along the NepalIndia border for over a week. She was not even let outside to go to the bathroom. After eight days of being locked up, she told her fiance that she would scream and call for the police if he did not let her out. The man never returned. Sarita believes she would've been trafficked if she hadn't threatened to call for help. Now she is fighting for justice for those in situations like hers. She works as a border guard at a Tiny Hands monitoring station in western Nepal. Though the work is dangerous, she is fearless. Her determination has resulted in several innocent girls being intercepted and prevented from being trafficked, and their traffickers being apprehended by the police.

www.OneGirlTHI.org

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Frequently Asked Questions What happens to the girls that are rescued? In almost all cases, our staff, with the help of the police, will send the girls home. Because they were prevented from being trafficked, they can be sent back to their families a bit wiser, but otherwise no worse for having almost been trafficked. According to our Border Monitoring Standard, every girl who is rescued should receive four things: 1. Awareness about trafficking: With the use of film and print materials, each girl should be educated about the reality of trafficking. This, above all, will ensure that she is not trafficked again. She can also convince others in her village of the dangers of trafficking. 2. Love: Each girls we intercept should be treated with respect, be served by our staff, and feel genuine love. 3. An Opportunity: Many girls that we intercept are very poor and have little or no work-prospects. That is why they are susceptible to trafficking. 4. The Gospel: Many of the girls we intercept have never heard of Jesus, and though nothing we would ever provide for them is conditional on their response, we want to tell them why we are doing this work. Though giving the above four things to every girl we intercept is our goal, it is not easy to provide all of those things. Each girl we intercept is incredibly precious and by far our highest priority is to stop them from being trafficked. There are cases where we are unable to provide the above four things. For example, it is extremely difficult to simply "give an opportunity" to a poor and uneducated girl. The question of how to best do that is one of the ongoing questions of all of Tiny Hands. Most poor girls need at least four things in order to become self-sufficient (adult literacy skills, general business training, skill training, and a loan) each of which can take months. Where do they stay? At some of our bigger stations, we have shelters where intercepted girls can stay. At our smaller stations we do not have shelters, and the church will provide a place for the girl to stay, at the home of the pastor, with a godly couple, or in some cases, at the church itself.

An English translation of a poster we put up near our border stations.. The real posters are in Nepali, and include contact information.

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What if the girls have been trafficked by their family, or do not want to go home? There are cases girls do not want to go home, and our staff are trained to look for signs of direct family-involvement with trafficking. In such cases, depending on the situation, the victims can go to a children's home, a women's home, or even find a place to stay near the church, and find work with the help of our subcommittees.


Each one is precious...

One Month's Intercepts

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The Greatest Injustice angles, the paths of her village that she has the price of herself. She has to pay back the price loved, the face of her mother and father, of her own trafficking. tart with a little girl. Choose any her sisters and brothers. She says goodbye She is indigone you deem as precious. There is an to her friends. She is excited and nant and still innocence and a gentleness in her, a quiet False Promises scared, but she is brave, so she sets hoping that hope for her life and wonder at the world. out with the hopeful expectation of a Traffickers deceive their victims by her benefactor Picture her face when you read the followmaking false promises, including: better life. will return, ing lines. That is the only way to think *Pretend arranged marriages in anand absolutely true thoughts about trafficking to really other village he is innocent, and determined understand it. Because God loves each *Fake marriages with the trafficker that she will trafficking victim more than any father trusting. She follows the instruc- *Fake offers of good jobs in India not do this loves his daughter, and The average age of girls trafficked tions of her bene- *Offers of good education in India kind of work. from Nepal is 15 years old. factor because she She is still a about them. They are hopes for and believes in little girl. She has not yet been broken; she soon unfathomably prewhat he has promised will be. cious. They ought to her. They travel, somebe blessed by every times by bus, by foot means possible, just as hen she refuses, she is sub(when they are crossing fathers want for the border) and by train, ject to the most horrible forms of tortures. daughters and God stopping at hotels along Typically, trafficked girls will be beaten and gang wants for all little girls. the way to eat, trying to -raped to be initiated into their new life. They are keep out of sight. She sometimes locked in a dark room, unable to see Some of us involved in Promagine that this looks out the window of ject 58 have been carrying the bus and wonders the light of the sun for days until they will consent. They are beaten with pipes and cords, little girl is poor and around the picture of this girl, what her new life will be burned with cigarettes, and have chilly power uncertain about her who was rescued by Maiti Ne- like, hopeful. She does rubbed in their genitals. They are told that if life. She is easily depal while she was being traf- not ask why they must they refuse, their mothers and sisters will be trafceived because she is ficked. She represents for us all be so secret, why they ficked in their place. Day after day, if she continfilled with hope. She the girls out there who we seem to be sneaking ues to refuse, the tortures will grow worse. The wants to be beautiful might stop from being traf- across the border. She other girls will tell her what is inevitable: she canand happy, and find swallows easily whatever not hold out, she has no choice in the matter, she ficked. someone who will love Carry it around yourself, or explanation her benefac- must accept her fate. her and treat her like a tor happens to give. She will break. Her dream of meeting princess, as God wants carry with you the picture of They arrive, someone who will love her and cherish her will her to be treated. Picyour own daughter or sister. and she is told to wait ture her at home her Set it out before you when you someplace for her bene- die. She will give it up to stop the pain, to see the sun, to save her sister, to save her life. From friends, her little bed, pray, and make a commitment factor to return. Hours this day forward she is a prostitute. walking the paths that to remember the faces of the later, she is told that she she loves and wondergirls, recalling the unfathomable has been sold. She tries ing what her life will he is not free to refuse custompreciousness of every little girl to leave but the way is be like. barred. She is told that ers. She cannot leave the brothel without an Now imagine she is no longer free, and escort. She cannot contact her family or loved that someone comes that she must have sex with old men. ones in any way. She is allowed no contact with along and offers her a great opportunity. That is her job now. This is her home the outside world, except the men she is forced to Maybe it is a job, or a marriage, or a now. She has a debt now, and she must have sex with every day, and in many cases she is chance for education. These are the pay it back. She does not understand. not even allowed to speak to them. She is a prismeans that traffickers use to deceive little She never agreed to this. She never signed oner. She may be kept in a cage or locked in a girls into coming to India. They arrive in up for it. She does not want to do it. She windowless room. the villages of these poor girls wearing wants to go home. But she cannot leave, She may try to escape, but she does not smart western clothing, promising jobs, because she now owes the brothel-owner a speak the language, and will almost certainly be education, or marriage. great deal of money. For what? What hunted down by agents of the brothel. When she So she leaves behind everything service has the brothel-owner given to her returns, she will be severely beaten. When the she has known: the dirty walls of her that is so valuable that it will take her police come, she is hidden away. Even if she house that she has seen from a thousand more than ten years to pay it back? It is manages to get to the police, it is likely that they

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will sell her back to the brothel for a bribe. Again, she will be beaten. Even if she is rescued, she will be put police for months, a virtual prison. Indian laws require that she stay for as long as two years in a government facility before she be allowed to return to her country. Day after day she must engage in every unspeakable form of sex, with the most sexually ravenous kind of men. She is violated in every possible way, from every possible angle. She has no say in any of it. She has no choice. She is beaten if she refuses.

One day one of the men she is forced to have sex with will pass to her the disease that will kill her. At first she will not realize it, and will probably pass it on to others for several months. Eventually she will be tested, her heart beating fast with fear as she waits for the results, then dropping when she hears forced to leave the brothel, and go back to Nepal. She left a virgin; she is returning with HIV. She wanders back to her village, heartsick and alone. She does not love the paths anymore. Her friends are all gone, and her family will reject her. She is unclean now, not a suitable person for good people to be around. She cannot possibly find a job, a husband, or a friend. She is no longer welcome in the house whose dirty walls she used to know so well. What does she do? What can she do? She has nowhere to go, no one to trust, she cannot work, she has nothing to eat. If she survives, and is not helped by an NGO, she will do what she knows. She will wander the nearby villages until she sees a young girl at just the right age with a pretty face a trusting, innocent girl as she herself once was. She will promise this young girl a job in India. She will lie, and the little girl will believe her. The two together will take a bus to a border town in

A Spiritual Battle God alone sees the events that make a person into a trafficker. And He loves the trafficker, because He is love. Our enemy is not the people who do these things to these little girls, nor is our battle is not against flesh and blood. It is a spiritual battle that we fight. And the Principality that is the Asian sex industry is deep and wide:  as men. The centuries old practice of dowry reinforces this the poor with few options.

parents must pay for their daughters to be married, often leaving

The political climate of impunity for the powerful. People are not judged by merit, but too often by caste or class. The Nepali culture and poverty of family values by which families trade their own daughters as commodities. The lack of value of human life, so that girls are sold for as little as 200 Rs (approx. $3) by their families in the villages. The perverse reasoning by which thousands of people accept the debt bondage of trafficked victims as a real debt that must be paid. The naivety and superstition that must pervade the culture so that people will believe the myth that having sex with virgins or very young girls will cure sexually transmitted diseases thus driving down the age of girls that are in demand. The lack of political will among highly placed officials to fight trafficking, inaction, laziness, indolence, and corruption among police and low-level officials. The laws exist, but no one bothers to enforce them. The Nepali culture that blames women (who are themselves victims) for the evils others do to them. Rather than pitying trafficked girls and making every attempt to make it up to them (as we ought to do), people reject them, look down at them, label them as unclean, etc. It is no wonder, then, that there is a cycle by which trafficked girls themselves become traffickers, ensnaring others into the very evil that has so destroyed their life. The spiritual apathy of the West. We watch movies and imagine ourselves heroes, but in the real world our luxuries keep us too busy to give even a fraction of the desperate action that the situation calls for. The spiritual blindness that lays over the minds of the people so that they (a) do not see all of the above things, and (b) do not do something about it. As humans, we want someone to blame for evils like trafficking. But as Christians, we must not look for someone to blame. Even the trafficker has a reason for having become what he/she is. He is sinful, as we are. Like him our only hope is in the Grace offered by the God who is Love. The blame is spread thinly over all any of the above things, or responds to any of the above things in any other way than by Truth and Love they are part of the problem. Even when people totally uninvolved in trafficking do any of the above things, they are part of the problem. Multiply those practices over millions of people all across Asia and the world, and you have the correct target for blame. We must fight such things were given very little. Perhaps they were not loved, or wounded very deeply. Perhaps they themselves were trafficked. If we were in their position, how much worse than them might we have done? If they were in our position, how much better than us might they have done? We do not judge others, lest we be judged. Our job is to love others (including, specifically, our enemies), and judge ourselves. We ourselves are part of the problem. As far as I am concerned, I am the problem. By not having yet found a way to stop it, I am the problem. My choices are the reason that little girls are trafficked. Is there any course of action by which I could possibly put an end to trafficking? All things are possible with God, so yes. Have I taken that course of action? No. I am the problem. I have not prayed enough, I have not given enough, I have not worked hard enough. The only thing to do about it, is what Jesus calls us to do: repent, go forth and sin no more.

Why Trafficking is the Greatest Injustice of All The following practices are almost universal for the brothels that keep trafficked girls: Debt bondage -rape and beating Torture and regular beatings Girls cannot leave the brothel without an escort Girls cannot contact their families Girls are not allowed to refuse customers Girls will be beaten if they try to escape Eventually, they will get HIV The number of crimes covered by the above list (rape, kidnapping, murder, among others) and the fact that it is perpetuated on helpless and innocent victims, and carried out systematically, day-after-day (instead of just once) all these things combine together to make trafficking the greatest injustice in the world today. It is not just one rape, it is as many as 40 rapes a day for ten years. It is not just torture, it is the worst kind of torture, day after day for ten years. It is not just stealing, it is stealing everything from an innocent child. It is murder

slow, torturous, methodical, horrible murder.

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THE LIGHT Design and editing by Tiny Hands staff For more information, visit www.tinyhandsinternational.org


The Light, 2009