Story from Rupandehi under Peacebuilding
The term "Anti-Human Trafficking" conjures up images of risky raids on seedy warehouses or shady premises in the red light district. That is certainly part of the story, but UMN's Anti-Human Trafficking projects approach the issue from a different starting-point, that of prevention.
Poverty, unemployment, discrimination against women and lack of education for girls are all issues which lead to increased vulnerability. In several of its working areas, UMN and its partners are working together to raise awareness about the problem, and address its underlying causes. Brought together in groups, women learn about their rights, gain the confidence to speak up for themselves, and develop income-earning skills to strengthen their families against the lures of migration and the dangers of trafficking.
In Butwal, the Sundar Nagar Amaa Samuha (Mothers' Group) members believe that education is the key, and make huge sacrifices to see that their teenagers stay in school. They've formed a group of teenage girls who meet at weekends for training and encouragement. Together, they make incense sticks to sell in the market. The income provides school stationery for girls who can't afford it. Bhabishara, the group secretary, is in Grade 7 at a local government school. "Without an education, it's like sitting in darkness," she says. "To go forward, we need an education."
The women and girls of Sundar Nagar are determined to go forward. It won't be easy for them. But they are united and determined. "We've learned many new things. We know our rights, and we can teach our husbands too," says Maya, the group chairperson. "There is power in the group."