Nepal’s Stolen Daughters

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I’d define trafficking as the exploitation of vulnerability in any situation.

Lauran Bethell

While this quote references human trafficking, I believe it also provides a succinct definition of injustice. Injustice thrives in chaos and disorder, in desperation and need. It grows in fallow soil and mine fields, watered by hatred and greed. Injustice is the exploitation of vulnerability, and where there is destruction and death, injustice thrives.

Broken Nepal

Last month, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated the Asian nation of Nepal. I spent 10 days in Nepal when I was on DTS, and I’ve never been to a more beautiful or more impoverished nation. While 800,000 tourists flock to Nepal each year to take in the sights of the Himalayas, 12,000 to 15,000 women and girls are trafficked from Nepal and forced to work in the sex trade. Some are taken to South Korea or as far as South Africa, but the majority are trafficked to brothels in India, where they live and work in appalling conditions.

Most victims of trafficking come from the rural regions of Nepal, where the promise of a good job is enough to lure desperate girls from their homes. The recent quake, which killed an estimated 7,000, has devastated these rural communities, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without homes or possessions.

Exploiting Vulnerability

Nepal has long been the focal point of various organized trafficking networks which deal in everything from tiger skins to people, and the destruction caused by the recent quake threatens to increase illegal activity.      

There is nothing like an emergency when there is chaos for opportunities to … traffic more women. There is a great chance that everything that is bad happening in Nepal could scale up.

Western aid official

Traffickers often enter refugee camps under the guise of aid workers, offering supplies and assistance while scouting out the most desirable girls. To convince parents to let their daughters leave, traffickers promise good jobs, opportunities for education, and surplus money to be sent home to the family. Other times, girls just disappear.

This is the time when the brokers go in the name of relief to kidnap or lure women…we are getting reports of [individuals] pretending to go for rescuing and looking at people. 

Sunita Danuwar, director of Shakti Samuha

Stolen Daughters

Sita, a 20 year old woman from the rural region of Sindhupalchok, was taken from her village to the Indian border town of Siliguri. There, she was sold to a brothel owner, and over the next year, she was forced to have unprotected sex with 20 to 30 men a day, 7 days a week. Sita was rescued when the government raided the brothel and returned home last year, now infected with HIV. She is concerned that the earthquake, which killed more than 3,000 people in her region, will increase vulnerability of women to traffickers.

I am worried now for the other girls who might be taken away. They will need the money and be tempted if someone talks to them about a job. Then the same thing will happen to them as happened to me.

Sita, trafficking survivor

Pray for Nepal

Injustice is an exploitation of vulnerability, and right now, the nation of Nepal is very vulnerable. As Nepal continues to recover from this recent tragedy, please pray for the protection of women and children from human trafficking. Although the danger of the earthquake may be over, the danger of injustice continues to grow. However, God is the defender of the widow, the orphan, and the stranger. He is a refuge for the weak and an ever-present help in trouble.

He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.

Psalm 72:14

As the dust settles, let’s remember the vulnerable and stand with the God who will never forget them. 

How would you define injustice? How can we fight injustice in times of vulnerability? How should we respond to the Nepalese quake? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Author Details

Bryanna Lindberg

Today, billions of people are living in slavery. Some are trapped in physical slavery—sold as prostitutes, laborers, or soldiers. Others are trapped in psychological slavery—controlled by ignorance, fear, or pride. Too many are trapped in spiritual slavery—trying to please a god who demands nothing less than perfection. As Christians, we've been set free from the law of sin and death, but how many of us are living free? Pursuing freedom is a fight, but the victory means living a better calling, telling a better story, and leaving a better testimony. Will you join me in the fight for better?

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