Trafficking at Nepal-India Border
Judy Walgren, photographer
© Judy Walgren/The Photo Project
BIRGUNJ BORDER CROSSING, NEPAL - Maiti Nepal "border guards" stopped this young girl and the man behind her at the Nepali/Indian at the Birgunj border crossing because the man said they were married and going to see his parents in India, but they could not produce traveling papers for the girl or proof of their marriage. They were detained at the Maiti Nepal office for more questioning and then the girl's parents were contacted and she was taken home to her village.
Some 5,000-6,000 women are trafficked from Nepal to India each year, according to Unicef. The reasons for child labor, and child trafficking, are complex. They include poverty; lack of schools; gender discrimination; poor health care; war; and others. In the last several years, a range of organizations has tried to stop trafficking at the source, and help women who have been trafficked to survive and, if possible, leave. On the border between Nepal and India, women "border guards" working for Maiti Nepal search the faces of women in cars, trucks, and on foot, quizzing many about their identification, travel papers and other indications that the women might be victims of trafficking. In Mumbai (Bombay), India, Apne Aap works with women sex workers in a variety of ways.