“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
However, even if the legal framework was excellent and governmental efforts were well-managed, any such action would work without corresponding grassroots initiatives. Human trafficking is featured by a hidden nature. Similarly, dynamics of current flows of migration, which goes through unregulated channels together with, lack of reliable research data on human trafficking folds the problem in the mist. Above all, many victims place themselves into the hands of traffickers voluntarily. Fooled by promises of greener pastures, lured by false perspectives of employment abroad and a better life, poor people submit themselves to traffickers absent any knowledge about real purposes and practices of the traffickers. More and more often, families pressed by economic uneasiness sell their own children persuaded that such step would provide them with means to nourish the rest of the family. At the same time they posses no knowledge about real forthcoming fate of their sons and daughters.
After that, instead of promising employment opportunity, Nepali children end up as sex workers in Indian brothels or servants in wealthy residences in Middle East. Physically and mentally exploited, tortured and stigmatized, they are not only rejected a normal childhood, but also their future perspectives are gone with the wind.
Because of all that, it is crucial to adopt a grassroots approach to both prevention of human trafficking and rehabilitation of victims. NGO and governmental initiatives, action plans and programs shall be aimed at raising awareness, counselling and providing information among endangered communities predominantly in remote areas without sufficient media coverage and high rate of illiteracy. Education, training and awareness-raising play a key role in preventing a heinous crime of human trafficking and slavery. Civil society shall actively participate by providing support for educational activities, qualification and skills-gaining with the view to enable persons´ access to secure labour market. In that regard, it is important to ensure that employment services are provided on equal basis. Similarly, rural development, support for local business is a must once we want to put malignant phenomenon of modern slavery to the end. Of a cardinal importance is also promotion of non-discrimination, equality, solidarity and social inclusion of all communities within Nepal.
In the very end, only coherent and joint action at all levels of the society, underlined by mutual understanding, respect, and solidarity and will to search for a meaningful solution can bring Nepal and other countries out of the vicious spiral of slavery.
Jana Lopusna, LL.M.