Innovative Program Returns 20 Trafficked Children Home to their Families in Nepal
Thousands of children taken from Nepal’s rural villages by traffickers end up on the streets of Kathmandu. Through the efforts of Next Generation Nepal, a small nonprofit group, trafficked children are reconnected with their families and reunited with their communities.
Thanks to the reunification efforts of Next Generation Nepal (NGN), this April twenty children who had been taken from their families by child traffickers during the civil conflict and abandoned in Kathmandu will finally return to their families and home communities.
For the past five years, NGN and its partner organizations combating child trafficking have been caring for the children in Kathmandu, where they were first found. Now, Next Generation Nepal’s programs have expanded beyond merely caring for the children, and are successfully returning children to their families in rural Nepal when village and family assessments deem it advisable. This action is in accordance with the UN position on The Principle of Family Unity (2004) which states that: “All children have a right to a family, and families have a right to care for their children.”
Next Generation Nepal has secured a spacious house in Simikot, in the far western region of Humla, which will serve as a transitional home for the children as the process of reconnection continues. Under the guidance and care of NGN, the children will attend school, participate in rural community life, visit regularly with family and learn the customs and traditions of their birth. “This is an enormous and historic undertaking. Moving these children from Kathmandu to their home district reflects the underlying belief of NGN: that each child has the right to be raised in their own family.” states Hallie Tamez, Executive Director for NGN.
The crisis of trafficked children in Nepal begins when traffickers deceive village families with offers to bring their children to the faraway capital of Kathmandu, where they will be given an education. Poor village families pay enormous sums for this supposed privilege. However, instead of being given an education the children are put up for illegal international adoptions, forced into slave labor, or simply abandoned on the streets. The children are often as young as three or four years old.
NGN has developed an innovative three step approach to restoring families torn apart during the armed conflict. First, NGN Search Teams locate families of trafficked children through an intense search of remote mountainous areas, most of which are accessible only by foot. The team then reconnects them with letters, photos and visits. Finally, if conditions are deemed safe and appropriate, NGN reunites children with their home communities and families permanently. In this way, the children inherit the traditions of their society and rural villages have a chance to survive and thrive in the future.
NGN believes a future free from trafficking lies in respecting and supporting the traditions and potential in rural communities. NGN will continue to tackle the root causes of trafficking through sustainable community development programs in cooperation with local and international partners to ensure the future of education and life skills to children in rural Nepal.
Returning these 20 children home in 2010 represents a significant achievement for NGN in its mission to reconnect trafficked and displaced children with their families.
About the Organization: Next Generation Nepal is a small non-profit organization working to reconnect trafficked children with their families. Founded in 2006 by Conor Grennan and Farid Ait-Mansour, and developed in collaboration with Conor’s wife, Elizabeth Grennan, NGN has linked trafficked children in their care to their home communities in post-conflict Nepal through a careful process of reconnection and reunification. With offices in both New York City and Kathmandu, NGN oversees a small program staff implementing an ambitious strategic plan for growth and maximum impact. They are available to contact at http://www.nextgenerationnepal.org or their facebook.
Press Release courtesy of Online PR News: (http://www.onlineprnews.com).
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