German Parliamentarians visited AWO International’s Office

A delegation of four German Parliamentarians along with representatives of the German embassy visited the office of AWO International in Kathmandu.

The delegation wanted to learn about the situation of safe migration and human trafficking with focus on women and child rights in Nepal. The parliamentarians, the German ambassador, the deputy chief of mission and their colleagues were also interested to gather information about the relief work of AWO and its partners after the earthquake in April 2015. The visitors Mrs. Tabea Rößner (the Greens), Mrs. Caren Lay (the Left), Mr. Michael Donth (CDU) and Prof. Egon Jüttner (CDU) belong to the group of German-South-Asian parliamentarians.

On 5th April the parliamentarians and representatives of the German embassy were received by AWO and its two partner organizations POURAKHI and MAITI NEPAL, both working in the field of safe migration and anti-human trafficking. Mrs. Manju Gurung of POURAKHI and Mr. Bishwo Ram Khadka of MAITI NEPAL presented their work and gave their assessment of the situation of human trafficking. The parliamentarians wanted to know how it is possible that people are being tricked into unsafe migration and human trafficking. Mr. Khadka then described how, and even worse after the earthquake, when the people had lost everything, that the “agents” or some distant “uncles” or “aunts” promised a proper job with a good income in another country to the girls. They then take away the documents and the girls are being brought to brothels in India or to dance bars in Kenya or Tanzania. Often the girls come from poor families that were not able to provide education to their children. Many of them are not aware of the tricks of the traffickers and the girls are very often in a desperate situation. Thus, MAITI NEPAL and POURAKHI raise awareness among the people through courtyard meetings, they air radio programs, they form community groups, run shelter homes for survivors of trafficking and unsuccessful returnee migrants, they work against discrimination and also provide training for income generation and do advocacy work with the government etc.

Another question raised by the parliamentarians was if there was organized crime behind the high numbers of trafficking cases of approximately 14.000 cases per year, as estimated by the Nepalese Human Rights Commission before the earthquake – official numbers are not available. Yes, although mostly individuals approach the girls - according to AWO’s partners, organized crime can be assumed behind the trafficking. 

AWO International and its partners were also active after the earthquake, as presented during the delegations’ visit by AWO International’s humanitarian aid coordinator Mr. Sushant Sharma. As numbers of trafficking cases were increasing after the earthquake, a nation wide campaign was launched with leaflets, hoarding boards, and stickers etc. to increase awareness about the high risk of being tricked into unsafe migration. Cross-border multi-stakeholder meetings were held together with Indian security forces and alike.

AWO International and its partners also provided relief work after the earthquake. Emergency relief goods were provided to approx. 43.000 people, transitional shelters were built for approx. 7500 people and psycho-social counseling was provided in seven villages. 

After one and half hour and a couple of biscuits the members of the delegation wanted to know how they could possibly support the work of AWO and its partners. AWO International’s representative Ines Budarick said that it would be good if the topic of human trafficking and the work against it would be debated in Germany as well.