Human Trafficking

Nepal’s Slave Girls

Although slavery has been “abolished” in Nepal, the young daughters of indebted men called “Kamlaris” are still taken and kept as slaves. They come from an indigenous group, called Tharu. This community was stripped of their land and put into labor almost 200 years ago. Kamlaris are often victims of abuses such as rape, physical neglect, physical violence, emotional trauma, and many mysterious deaths.  There are others who experience more safe and home-like environments, or even become activists for the cause. Many of Nepal’s high officials have a kamlari, including one police officer caught by a hidden camera.  This article, along with the attached documentary film, is a helpful tool for understanding the reality of bonded labor and gender-based violence in Nepal.

Shrestha, Subina. “Nepal’s Slave Girls” 101 East, Doha, Qatar: Al Jazeera Media Network, 28 Sep 2013. 17 July 2016. <>.

Sons for Sale

In Ghana, young boys are sold to fishermen as slaves for as little as £12.  They are subject to forced hazardous labor, malnutrition, physical abuse and neglect, and are stripped of their education.  The IOM, an intergovernmental organization focused on humane migration, helps to support fisherman and parents so that they do not need these boys to aid their work.  They recognize that the nature in which this situation arises is mainly rooted in financial instability or the inability to raise a child.  The International Organization for Migration is working with families and local business, as well as hosting shelters for rescued children, so that they can get kids into school and out of the trafficking market.  This article pushes the boundaries of what is assumed of gender-based violence by focusing on the effect that it has on young boys.

Left, Sarah. “Sons for Sale” The Guardian, London, UK: Guardian News and Media, 22 March 2007.  24 July 2016. <>.

City Heights Class Cautions Girls About Falling Prey to Sex Trafficking

GirlE is an organization in City Heights, San Diego that helps at-risk young girls.  “The majority of participants in this program are first-time offenders who have been charged with low-level, misdemeanor crimes such as truancy and curfew violations, petty theft, etc..” It helps to educate them by partnering with law enforcement and encourages them to create better lifestyle goals and habits; such as career and college paths, building self-esteem, nutritional choices, violence prevention, and staying safe.  

This program includes highlighting the key identifiers of sex trafficking in a high school setting.  Some of these factors include constant absences from school, physical signs of withdrawal, depression, and physical trauma. Many people around the world view trafficking as something that is not applicable to them, but with San Diego now titled as, “one of the top child prostitution areas in the nation,” it is important that the youth are informed on the situation that is happening in their own backyard.  

Most young girls don’t think about sex trafficking and, if they do, they don’t believe that they could fall victim to it. Young girls can easily be lead to these dangerous situations if precautions are not taken. Sex-trafficking has become extremely prevalent, particularly in San Diego, and recruiting is constant. Star/Pal, a nonprofit organization, is working towards building a stronger and safer community in order to prevent further danger.

McVicker, Nicholas; Murphy, Susan. “City Heights Class Cautions Girls About Falling Prey to Sex Trafficking” KPBS, San Diego, California: PBS, 31 May 2012. 24 July 2016. <>.

The Trafficking of Women for Sexual Exploitation: A Gender-Based and Well Founded Fear of Persecution?

Due to lack of education, jobs, and economic power in their countries of origin, women are being disproportionately affected by the human trafficking industry.  Vulnerability is a major risk factor when it comes to exploitation, making women and children prime targets for traffickers. Trafficking is sometimes used by women as a method for migration to the global North, or simply seen as an opportunity for improving the financial situation of herself and/or minor dependents, although these acts can often be coerced.  Reporting their situation could lead to being returned to their trafficker, being ignored by authorities, or even having the authorities, who are meant to protect them, participate in the acts that they wish to escape from.  This along with threats from their trafficker can make for difficulty in organizations identifying victims, meaning they have no ability to give them the support they need.  This article, written in 2003, may be somewhat outdated, but nevertheless is an important framework for understanding the gendered aspect of human trafficking.

Demir, Jenna Shearer.  “The Trafficking of Women for Sexual Exploitation: A Gender-Based and Well Founded Fear of Persecution?” UN Refugee Agency, Geneva, Switzerland: United Nations, March 2003.  1 Aug 2016. <>.

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