Incident Reports

Stigma-free life is what we want: Survivors: Kathmandupost Report


Bagmati, Kathmandu, Kathmandu

As the government prepares to amend current policies and guidelines on the reintegration of victims of human trafficking, survivors have called on the authorities concerned to focus on providing better skills and create the environment to ensure that they can lead a stigma-free life. Existing policies focus more on the reintegration of women with their families. But trafficking survivors say it has always been difficult for them to get reintegrated into society. “They (survivors) have never been accepted and almost all survivors we have talked to have said they would prefer to start afresh in a new place rather than going back to the family or the same village or society where they fear stigma and discrimination,” said Renu Rajbhandari, president of Women Rehabilitation Centre (Worec). Chari Maya Tamang, who herself is a trafficking survivor, echoes Rajbhandari. She said she would not have been able to achieve what she has in life had she been forced to get integrated into the same village or society she hails from. Tamang from Sindhupalchok was rescued from India and is the founder of Shakti Samuha, which was awarded Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2013 for its outstanding work in saving and protecting women and children from trafficking. She was also honoured with the 2011 Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award in 2011. Besides calling on the authorities to ensure training of different kinds, apart from conventional tailoring, the survivors have also laid stress on developing a mechanism so that the products they make after skill training could reach the market. “Tailoring skills will no longer work as readymade garments are cheaply available in the market. Those making handicrafts have no idea how to get their goods to the market. We hope the new policy does not abandon survivors after providing skill training,” said Tamang. According to Tamang, young women are more interested to receive training on computer and information technology, as chances of employment are higher. A research conducted by Shakti Samuha and Women Rehabilitation Centre had revealed that trafficking survivors were keen on becoming economically independent. They had also expressed their desire to complete formal education. They also stressed the need to carry out awareness programmes to change the perception among people about the trafficking survivors. A list of suggestions, including a new concept of reintegration, new skill training and a massive focus on employment opportunity, was also handed over to the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, which is currently amending guideline.