A Trafficker Behind Bars: A Counter-Trafficking Success Story
July 13, 2011
Eighteen year-old Sita* met Prakash in Banke, a district in the far west of Nepal, where she lived with her parents. Prakash came to her village during a festival celebration, and Sita’s uncle introduced them. The two quickly fell in love and decided to elope. Prakash told Sita that he had a job waiting for him in Delhi, and the two of them traveled to the border to cross into India.
Upon Prakash’s suggestion, they took different rickshaws to cross the border. They traveled to Delhi by bus, and Prakash set Sita up in a private house. He told her that he had to travel to another city for work, but that he would return in two weeks. He never returned, and instead, Sita was sold into a brothel a few weeks later by the landlady of the house where she was staying. In the brothel, Sita was beaten, tortured, and coerced into serving 20 to 25 male clients a day.
After a year in the brothel, Sita fell ill and was taken to receive treatment at a nearby medical center. She managed to escape from the hospital, and with the assistance of a Nepali whom she met during her escape, returned to Nepal and was reunited with her family. A month later, Sita was approached by the Center for Legal Research and Resource Development (CeLRRd), a paralegal committee organized by a local NGO, which encouraged her to go to the local police and file a report against Prakash. Unfortunately, Sita was too traumatized to tell her story and couldn’t garner enough evidence to file a case.
Sita was then referred to CeLRRd’s Victim Legal Aid Lawyer in Nepalgunj. Under The Asia Foundation’s USAID-funded Counter Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) program, a lawyer worked closely with Sita to ensure she understood her legal rights and the victim protection provisions of the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act 2007 of Nepal. Equipped with an increased understanding of her rights and of victim protection strategies, Sita filed a First-Incident-Report with the Nepal Police. On the basis of this report, the police carried out an investigation and eventually arrested Prakash.
Sita’s case was filed in the district court and CeLRRd’s CTIP-funded Victim Legal Aid Lawyer represented her. She bravely testified against Prakash, which strengthened the case. During the court hearing, Prakash admitted to having trafficked three other women on the pretense of marriage. With Sita’s testimony and the persistence of the legal counsel, Prakash was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
USAID is currently supporting a five-year project with The Asia Foundation to combat human trafficking in Nepal. Trafficking is a serious problem in Nepal, with as many as 15,000 Nepali women and girls trafficked annually to India and over 30,000 trafficked domestically for involuntary labor and sexual exploitation. To combat these trends, The Asia Foundation and its partners are increasing awareness of the risks of trafficking in six key districts, while working to improve the ability of the judicial system and law enforcement to prosecute traffickers. The program also provides legal aid to trafficking victims like Sita, one of the many beneficiaries of the project’s counseling and court representation for survivors.
*Names have been changed to maintain confidentiality.
Niyama Rai is The Asia Foundation’s CTIP Monitoring and Evaluation officer in Nepal. She can be reached at [email protected]. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and not those of The Asia Foundation.
About our blog, In AsiaIn Asia is a weekly in-depth, in-country resource for readers who want to stay abreast of significant events and issues shaping Asia's development, hosted by The Asia Foundation. Drawing on the first-hand insight of over 70 renowned experts in over 20 countries, In Asia delivers concentrated analysis on issues affecting each region of Asia, as well as Foundation-produced reports and polls.
In Asia is posted and distributed every Wednesday evening, Pacific Time and is accessible via email and RSS. If you have any questions, please send an email to [email protected].
ContactFor questions about In Asia, or for our cross-post and re-use policy, please send an email to [email protected].
The Asia Foundation
465 California St., 9th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
PO Box 193223
San Francisco, CA 94119-3223
THE LATEST ACROSS ASIA
Asia Foundation Releases Report on Aid and Recovery in Post-Earthquake Nepal
September 26, 2016
2017 Asia Foundation Development Fellows: Call for Applications
September 26, 2016
Tackling South Asia’s Water Crisis: Can Civil Society Help?
September 21, 2016
Laos: Reaping the Benefits of a New Era of International Cooperation
September 21, 2016
Asia Foundation Trustee Kathleen Stephens to Receive Distinguished Friend of Korea Award
September 20, 2016
Asia Foundation Launches Let’s Read! E-Books for Cambodian Children
September 19, 2016