Female Survivors of Trafficking in Advocacy for Ensuring Citizenship Rights

Although the constitution of Nepal is progressive in terms of citizenship issues it does not guarantee equality. Even after five years of the promulgation of the constitution, necessary amendments have yet to be made to Citizenship Act-2006, as per the provisions of the constitution. This issue of no citizenship has made the life of female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation including trafficking more severe leading to massive victimization of the already victimized. The country denies justice to them and are now even denied basic health facilities during COVID 19 because a citizenship certificate is mandatory in Nepal to claim needful Government based facilities.  During the pandemic survivors are on the verge of leaving their home country in an illegal manner simply to seek shelter and receive needful health-care which they have been restricted in their own country.

The project aims to bring needful reforms in the implementation of already existing citizenship based provisions in the Constitution exclusive of any rigid gender disparities, vulnerability and unnecessarily required evidence to gain the document and seek justice and claim basic health based facilities by the weak. The project follows a unique work modality of bringing female survivors of commercial sexual exploitation including trafficking who do not have citizenship even after being born in Nepal to the fore-front and seek needful response and action from the Government based duty bearers from the central level and gain commitment with due time allocated so that the survivors with health issues can get immediate facilities.

Community Interaction Program

Large number of children and young people have become victims of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, and many more remain vulnerable to trafficking, in the earthquake affected districts. Weakened, disrupted and overburdened community and local authority structures, alongside the loss of familial protections and/or increases in families’ economic hardship, have made it easier for traffickers to operate. The particular problems attributable to the earthquake impact are set within a background context in which child labour is already commonplace both within the family environment and outside of it; and children, especially those in poorer households, are expected to work from a very early age.

Program Outcome

Children’s vulnerability to trafficking and discriminatory attitudes towards survivors of CSE is reduced in target communities:

Community level actions on violence against children will increase, and the organisation and/or activities of Village Committees to Combat Human Trafficking and Child Protection Committees will be strengthened, leading to fewer incidence of trafficking and exploitation of children. Returning survivors of CSE will encounter more supportive and protective environments, where their ability to pursue secure livelihoods safe from the risk of re-trafficking is increased. Parents and carers will make more informed choices which prioritise the interests of the children in their care and minimise their risks of being trafficked.

Program Activities

  • Awareness raising through flash mob, street drama, silent demonstration in active participation of SASANE beneficiaries.
  • Dissemination of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials
  • Informal community level interaction with local leaders, Nepal Police, ward level officials following the ABC approach to behavior support.

School Awareness Program

Nepalese society is highly entrenched with cultural values and beliefs, which is again shaped by patriarchal thinking. Girl’s education has been ignored for various reasons such as cultural traditions, unsuitable schooling environment and poor financial status which leads to many dropouts. Gender discrimination, patriarchal norms and male domination within the society are the major challenges faced by the girls in remotest part of Nepal, which is plagued by verbal abuse and human trafficking. The victims are not aware of legislation and thus ignorant about illegality of trafficking and any other discriminatory attitudes towards girls/women as per law.

School awareness program ensures active participation of SASANE beneficiaries as facilitators in School Awareness activities in governmental schools aiming to reach more than thousand students which will highlight incidences of sexual exploitation, problems and causes in the society and possible solutions. We foresee SASANE beneficiaries as strong advocate against commercial sexual exploitation and provide an equal opportunity to become successful professionals, bring the problem of CSE survivors under the attention of general public and give  girls/survivors a clear picture about the prevailing issues and challenges of human trafficking.

First, the program examines the educational situation and need of awareness program especially focusing on the governmental school of Nepal at the particular area. Second, it examines the various approaches initiated by the government and donors to enlighten on human trafficking. Third, it identifies and tries to mitigate the gaps in the approaches that have been taken. Lastly, the program concludes by conducting School Awareness Program that would enable the students:

  1. To understand the harmful acts such as sexual solicitation and prostitution of a child
  2. Ensuring knowledge about the relevant provisions of national law against trafficking
  3. Information about the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion for the purpose of exploitation
  4. Information of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.
  5. Ensuring knowledge of the Roles of duty-bearers and FIR systems
  6. Information of governmental bodies, NGOs, INGOs and options/approaches (help-line numbers, police stations, social mobilizers)

School for justice

Female education is ignored in the Nepalese communities for various reasons such as unsuitable schooling environment, cultural traditions, and economic instability. It is sporadic for the girls hailing from rural villages of Nepal, to receive an education, so with no or little education, they are the ones who become the ultimate victims of human trafficking, slavery, and early marriage.

This pioneer program intends to meet its objective of empowering female survivors and daughters of survivors of commercial sexual exploitation to have a sustainable livelihood by ensuring quality education and to fight sexual exploitation of children.

Funded by the Netherland-based organization “Free A Girl”, the female survivors get education to become lawyers, paralegals, police officers, social workers and many more in Nepal to join the fight against child prostitution to put the criminals that once exploited them behind bars.

When we invest in girl’s secondary education

  • The lifetime earnings dramatically incline
  • Leadership skills develop simultaneously
  • Confidence to reintegrate in the society soars high
  • Decision-making ability strengthens

We SASANE, majorly invest in their work, raise the visibility as individuals, support their professional development and connect them to develop the national networks. Besides this, the beneficiaries act as a spokesperson in “Voice for Justice” campaign, which will focus on one specific case of spokesperson so that the beneficiaries feel strong and determined to file a complaint, receive justice, become change agents to fight impunity and also raise awareness.

Women and Children Helpline Service

A helpline can do what the caped crusader cannot. SASAN started its helpline service from November 2020, considering the difficulties the children and women may face during the prohibitory orders or future lockdown. We are making the helpline service available on the toll-free number 16600130013.

The helpline is open for 24 hours and intends to offer free legal information for the survivors and females seeking assistance for issues related to human trafficking, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, and child marriage. The helpline service is completely handled by female human trafficking survivors themselves making it easy and comfortable for the victims to inform or report about the incident.

Work of SASANE Women and Children Helpline Service

  • Tackle the discriminatory norms and practices that deny women to access their rights.
  • Instant support to the victims to eliminate the gaps in receiving justice.
  • Promote social protection measures for the reintegration process.
  • Eliminate biases and stereotypes for social wellbeing.
  • Provide brief counseling and address obstacles to mitigate the arising issues.
  • Directly refer needful cases to Nepal Police in coordination with SASANE based paralegals reducing the hassle to visit the police station.

Every three female out of five in Nepal are the victims of domestic violence, social abuse, and human trafficking. SASANE to bridge in the support has collaborated with its survivors to supervise and access the communication needed for the victims approaching to share their hesitation and concerns.

Paralegal Service

“SASANE paralegals are grassroots activists who use their knowledge to seek acceptable solutions in the form of justice.”

The inequality of women and girls is mainly reflected through a high rate of human trafficking, including a large percentage of female sex trafficking. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) conservative estimate, nearly 2.4 million people – overwhelming women and girls – are currently into forced labour, creating a market of almost USD 32 billion worldwide.

Within Nepal, female trafficking is a severe issue, characterized by cross-border, international, internal trafficking of women, children for forced labour and exploitation. In Nepal, women are vulnerable to domestic, cross border trafficking, and overseas human trade.

Women and Children’s Service Directorate (which is a part of Nepal Police) reported nearly 366 cases of trafficking between 2013-2015, of whom 94% were a female underage group of 18 years. Whereas the recent NHRC report indicates that 78 percent of identified victims of trafficking in 2017/2018 were female, and 25% were children.

SASANE commenced its paralegal service from 2008 A.D with 371 trained paralegals certified from the district court in two different locations Kathmandu and Pokhara till date. The main paralegal activities of SASANE include free psychological counselling, legal counselling, legal assistance, and data collection through Nepal Police proceedings.

Paralegal Program Summary 

Dedicated to female trafficking survivors, the paralegal program delivers training programs to 45 survivors each year. Apart from protection, the program provides in-depth paralegal skills training, with a goal of paralegal certification. Through this, the females are empowered to attain financial independence, leadership skills, and legal resources for their communities. These trained survivors come out to be active and confident in the justice procedure and assist other victims receive easy justice by acting as a bridge between Nepal Police and victims.

SASANE works in close coordination with Nepal Police and District Courts throughout the program for exploring job opportunities for trained paralegals and ensuring effective and easy justice seeking procedure.

The paralegal program consists of three stages, such as:

  • 45-days of extensive theoretical training under the guidance of renowned lawyers and SASANE paralegals. The training covers the Nepalese legal system’s overview and teaches about human rights and other additional laws related to gender-violence, court procedure, psycho-social counselling, and trafficking practices.
  • Six months of practical placement to local police stations to develop legal knowledge and skills. The trainees during the period earn a stipend to cover their monthly expenses and strengthen their financial capacity.
  • Completion of “Paralegal Certification Examination” conducted by District Court to receive the Paralegal Professional Certificate.
  • Passed trainees receive a Government recognized Paralegal Professional Certificate making them a licensed Nepal based Paralegal.

SASANE works independently for the Paralegal Training Program. We aid other NGOs who encounter human trafficking or gender violence and is seeking training service for Paralegal Programs.

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