Savior From Sex Slavery, Anuradha Koirala

Anuradha Koirala : CNN Hero of the Year 2010

Anuradha Koirala : CNN Hero of the Year 2010

Have you heard of a Nepalese named Anuradha Koirala? She was voted CNN’s Hero of the Year in 2010. Her sole mission? To rescue innocent girls who have been tricked and enslaved in the sex trade in Northern India. Even in such a remote location like Nepal, the world’s oldest profession is still thriving; but at the expense of unwilling innocent girls tricked and forced into submission by human animals without any moral conscience.

Anuradha Koirala is the director of the Nepalese non-profit organization called Maiti Nepal. Maiti means “mother’s home”. It was formed in 1993 by a group of professionals including teachers, journalists and social workers. Its mission is to combat social exploitations and crimes in the form of domestic violence, child labor, and particularly girl trafficking and child prostitution. Maiti offers a wide range of assistance to victims of discrimination and exploitation. The most crucial and basic help is the provision of a save shelter for the victims. There is a wide range of assistance available following the rescue. Amongst them, counseling, skills training, legal aid, reuniting with families and reintegrating them into society.

Anuradha with Demi Moore

Anuradha with Demi Moore

Who is Anuradha Koirala

Anuradha Koirala, is a 62-year old former English teacher. She first came into contact with a rescued sex worker when her neighbor started an organization to help sex trafficking survivors. That was nearly 20 years ago. When she started, the trafficking of innocent girls was a taboo subject, but now people are more conscious of this human scourge and are more willing to report on missing daughters.

Everyday, Anuradha confronts the worst of humanity in her mission with a no-nonsense approach. In all her interviews, she constantly stressed on practical actions. Even lawyers have to undergo short stints of practical training to improve on their knowledge and skills, or even by sponsoring a child.

Anuradha’s biggest challenge is the reintegration of former sex workers into society. The two main problems are, negative perception of society, and the lack of self-esteem of the victims. To overcome these problems, she embarks on economic programs to empower the girls with income-generating skills. Maiti provides them with micro-credit facilities to start their own small businesses back in their villages. Apart from this, Maiti also finds jobs for these women.

Anuradha, Demi Moore with the girls

Anuradha with the children

Maiti Nepal : Protecting The Girls Across Nepal

Maiti also does advocacy work, and works with lawyers to change legislations in order to protect the victims. Its members also facilitate ground-level communications with the locals in Nepal, educating them to be on the lookout for traffickers. They also organize border patrols to intercept girls from being transported across India, For the latter, Maiti has established transit homes in border towns. Anuradha has organized survivors into patrol groups to intercept girls from being trafficked out of Nepal. Maiti has a 50-strong group that patrols the 26 India-Nepal border crossings. The members work in teams and talk to girls and women crossing the border. These members are past victims and had gone through similar experiences, and are therefore better able to detect potential victims of trafficking.

Throughout the years, Maiti has built up its reputation that parents now have greater faith and confidence in it than the police. Apart from the rehabilitation work, Maiti has a team of lawyers who are able to initiate legal actions against the criminal traffickers.

Maiti has a two-prong mission. One, the crucial mission of rescuing the victims and rehabilitate them into society. Two, prevention of girls from being lured or kidnapped by the traffickers. It is a highly dangerous mission for Anuradha and her workers, as those criminal traffickers are vicious and without conscience. Furthermore they are suspected to have connections with influential local politicians.

Location of Nepal

Please support Maiti Nepal

This is what Anuradha has to say, “ We rescue 4 or 5 girls everyday. It’s all about teamwork. Most of those working in Maiti are survivors of trafficking and abuse. They are capable, and we have trained the second, third, fourth generations to take over the work. The team is excited about being part of the CNN project, and they feel nice about it. Most important of all, the issue of the trafficking of women and children in Nepal is being highlighted and brought to the world.”

Anuradha has spoken to people from the highest echelons of power, met with Hollywood celebrity Demi Moore, and of course has confronted the local law enforcers. The most important lesson she has learnt remains that it is all about taking “each child as your own”.

Please support Maiti Nepal and Friends Of Maiti Nepal. I just did that.


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