Nepal registers progresses in combating human trafficking as it prepares to take next steps
July 31, 2021 04:37 PM NPT
Kathmandu, July 30, 2021- Despite the impact of COVID-19, Nepal has continued to make gains in countering human trafficking, according to the 2021 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.
The report said that some of the tangible achievements Nepal made toward combating human trafficking include ratification of the Palermo Protocol, steps taken to amend the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act, and efforts to give continuity to raise awareness on trafficking.
With the rapid development in communication technology, the challenges of countering TIP have also changed. The lockdown has seen traffickers increasingly use social media and mobile technologies to lure and deceive victims. The many Nepalis whose homes the 2015 earthquakes destroyed, and who are now being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, are especially vulnerable to trafficking, said a joint press statement issued by USAID, UKAID and WINROCK International.
A webinar organized for the United Nations World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on Friday highlighted that all stakeholders concerned must have strong engagement and participation of TIP survivors to address these challenges.
With this year’s theme of Victims’ Voices Lead the Way, the webinar focused on the voice, agency, and leadership of survivors and survivor-centered interventions that address TIP. These survivors, who have received support from the Hamro Samman project, shared their stories, how they overcame trafficking, and the resilience they gained from the experience. They are now working to improve awareness, community engagement, and transformative empowerment at the local level in coordination with committees and governments. The event also discussed the heightened vulnerability, renewed challenges, and collaborative solutions to countering TIP.
“This event served as a platform for highlighting the efforts of local governments countering TIP in their communities,” the statement quoted Acting Mission Director for USAID/Nepal Adriana Hayes as saying. “Hearing about the municipal and provincial-level survivors’ networks, how the private sector is engaging with survivors, and the collaboration of various ministries and government agencies at the federal level is inspiring and makes me proud that USAID is a partner in this effort.”
Development Director at the British Embassy Kathmandu Nathanael Bevan said that crises have a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities including women and girls. "The pandemic has put such groups at more risk than ever before. By working with local governments and stakeholders, our Hamro Samman programme is ensuring that survivors’ voices and leadership are at the centre of tackling trafficking," he said. "I am delighted to see the progress that has been made this year and the UK will continue to work hard with government and international partners to reduce harm to vulnerable groups.”
USAID and the UK jointly fund Hamro Samman to help address human trafficking issues, specifically in the foreign labor migration and entertainment sectors. The project aims to strengthen the Government of Nepal’s system to tackle human trafficking and build synergies among the government, civil society, and the private sector to strengthen laws to prosecute traffickers and better support survivors under Nepal’s federal structure.