Maiti Nepal
Maiti Nepal is an organization that protects women and girls in Nepal from domestic violence, human trafficking and child exploitation. The word Maiti does not have a literal translation but conveys the idea of a girl’s real family. Through its work, Maiti Nepal provides homes and safety for displaced people. Most importantly, Maiti Nepal was established to put an end to the crime of trafficking.

Human trafficking is a lucrative business in Nepal. Based on supply and demand, human traffickers can be paid upwards of $570 per person trafficked. Demand for cheap labor, lack of employment opportunities, and political instability have also fueled the human trafficking trade. In Nepal, where traveling abroad to find work is common, many people are vulnerable to human trafficking.  There are an estimated 200,000 Nepalese women working in brothels in India with 7,000 new faces trafficked in each year. Women are often sold or trafficked by their own relatives or friends.

Maiti Nepal represents the fight against such human trafficking in Nepal. The organization was founded by Anuradha Koirala. After 20 years of teaching and commitment to social work, Koirala founded Maiti Nepal to serve women and children in suffering, particularly those who were being trafficked within Nepal for sexual exploitation. With the help of a group of teachers, journalists and social workers Maiti Nepal was started in 1993.

The first thing that Koirala accomplished was setting up a rehabilitation home for Maiti Nepal. The home would be for women and children with nowhere to turn to and no place to live. Today, the organization has three prevention homes, nine transit homes, a high school, and a hospice. Additionally, Koirala’s work has turned into a wide range of activities for Maiti Nepal. The organization currently conducts awareness campaigns, rescue operations, female empowerment programs, and health care for women affected by HIV or other illnesses. Maiti Nepal also takes action to provide  legal justice for those who have been exploited. Nowadays, over 1000 children and countless women receive care from Maiti Nepal.

Today, Maiti Nepal continues to rescue girls from human trafficking situations. Maiti Nepal also provides the practical steps to help formerly entrapped women learn to develop self-sustainable life skills. Women are provided with proper counseling and care as well as necessary education. In doing so, Maiti Nepal not only advocates for the end of human trafficking but provides a fresh start for hundreds of women and children.

– Grace Zhao

Sources: Maiti Nepal, The Guardian, Friends of Maiti Nepal