Nepal

WHERE WE WORK > NEPAL

Protecting and empowering girls and women at-risk in Nepal  

GSIF works in Nepal to advocate for systemic change to address human trafficking, prevent unsafe migration and reduce violence and exploitation on women and girls. We started initially delivering emergency relief after natural disasters such as the catastrophic earthquake which struck the country in 2015, to respond to the most isolated local communities’ basic needs by providing health and water, and continued to contribute to improve the social and economic conditions of the communities recovering from poverty and social injustice. Our programs in Nepal are now focused on empowering women, girls and children living under poverty, at-risk of human trafficking and unsafe migration, vulnerable to various forms of violence and discrimination. 

About GSIF Nepal

Good Shepherd International Foundation Nepal (GSIF Nepal) is a non-profit, non-political organization committed to making a sustainable impact in Nepal. Established in 2018 as a branch of the Good Shepherd International Foundation, we operate as an INGO (International Non-Governmental Organization) registered in Nepal. Our vision is to create an inclusive society where Nepalese women and girls enjoy full human rights, live with dignity, and are free from violence and exploitation.

We strongly believe in the power of collaboration and collective action and we work in partnership with key implementing organizations, including Opportunity Village Nepal, Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre, and the National Network for Safe Migration in Nepal. Together, we are actively engaged in projects addressing various aspects of human trafficking, safe migration, and the prevention of online sexual exploitation of children. Our projects operate in three out of the seven provinces of Nepal.

Our mission in Nepal

Human trafficking is a grave issue globally and is considered the second-largest and fastest-growing criminal industry. According to the Global Estimates of Modern-Day Slavery Report (2021), an estimated 50 million people worldwide live in modern slavery. The National Human Rights Commission in Nepal reported in 2019 that approximately 35,000 people were trafficked in a year, and 1.5 million people in Nepal are vulnerable to trafficking. Human trafficking in Nepal exists in both internal and cross-border forms, making the country a source, transit, and destination for victims.

To combat this heinous crime and its devastating effects on humanity, GSIF Nepal has adopted a focused approach guided by its Strategic Plan 2022-2026, to achieve the following outcomes:

Reduction of Human Trafficking

Prevention of Unsafe Migration

Strengthening Protection Mechanisms for Children, particularly girls

 

Latest projects

1. Anti-Human Trafficking Projects

Prevention of Internal Human Trafficking

Reports have estimated that there are more than 60,000 workers engaged in the adult entertainment sectors, including dance bars, restaurants, massage parlors, and dohori sanjh. Among them, 36% are highly vulnerable to trafficking. GSIF Nepal collaborates with Opportunity Village Nepal to work towards prevention in this context.

Safe Spaces: We have established safe spaces in Kathmandu and Kaski in two facilities, providing immediate care and protection to women survivors of gender-based violence and victims of online sexual exploitation. Our case management approach adopted in these short-term residential homes ensures timely counseling, medical support, life skills development, referrals, family reunions, skill development, and support for micro-enterprises. Since 2020, we have assisted around 50 girls and young women each year.

Self-reliance and self-esteem: Since 2016 GSIF Nepal has been workling to empower approximately 200 youth working in adult entertainment sectors in Kathmandu Valley and Kaski districts. Our programs focus on social empowerment to enhance their self-esteem and equip them with life skills, leadership training, counseling, psychosocial first aid, trauma healing, and stress management. To reduce vulnerability to trafficking, we provide entrepreneurship training through “Start and Improve Your Business” courses. Youth receive six months of skill development training based on their assessments, followed by job placement assistance and support for micro-enterprises.

Strengthening the community of youth: GSIF Nepal believes in the “Putting the last first” approach and making the participation of young women the cornerstone of every program. They are supported to become organized and active in claiming their rights at the workplace and throughout their empowerment process. Peer support groups are formed, capacitated, and mobilized to broaden the community of the youth so that they are well organized and integral to our campaign against human trafficking. GSIF Nepal supports the youth in their affiliation to the Workers Women Protection Union, the union of women working in informal and adult entertainment sectors.

 

Preparing responsive communities: Human trafficking is a highly organized criminal activity, demanding concerted efforts for an effective response, and community engagement is of paramount importance. GSIF Nepal places a priority on raising awareness within communities about human trafficking. These interventions play a pivotal role in deepening people’s and stakeholders’ understanding and ensure their active involvement in the anti-human trafficking campaign. GSIF Nepal also conducts capacity-building training for primary duty-bearers to enhance their contributions to the campaign. Youth from adult entertainment sector are mobilized to lead community awareness initiatives in the communities they are from.

Networking and Partnership: We collaborate with networks such as the Alliance against Trafficking of Women and Children in Nepal (AATWIN), Consortium Nepal, NGO Federation, and Children as Zone of Peace for collective actions, lobbying, and advocacy. These networks have been influential in carrying out advocacy and lobbying efforts at the national level.In addition to collaborating with civil society organizations, GSIF Nepal has closely partnered with Opportunity Village Nepal to work with various stakeholders, including owners of venues of Adult Entertainment Sector, media, police, local governments, the National Child Rights Council, the National Women Commission, the One Step Crisis Management Centre, and the Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau.

 

Prevention of cross-border human trafficking

Nepal shares an open border with India. Though overseas trafficking has increased over the recent years, trafficking of women and children to India continues to exist. To contribute to the government’s campaign against the cross-border trafficking of humans to India, GSIF Nepal is running a cross-border anti-human trafficking project in the Rupandehi district of Lumbini Province, implemented in collaboration with Opportunity Village Nepal.

Cross-border coordination: Effectively addressing cross-border human trafficking requires joint efforts from both sides. GSIF Nepal regularly collaborates with Purvanchal Gramin Seva Samiti (PGSS) in Gorakhpur, KIN India, Mission Mukti Foundation, Child Welfare Committees, Anti-Human Trafficking Units, and District Child Protection Units in Maharajgunj to rescue and repatriate trafficking survivors and victims to Nepal. Opportunity Village Nepal participates in and organizes cross-border stakeholder network meetings at regular intervals, which bring together law enforcement agencies, primary duty bearers, and civil society representatives. In the year 2021-22, a total of 26 trafficking survivors were successfully rescued and repatriated to Nepal.

Safe home: A secure shelter with the capacity to accommodate up to 20 girls and young women at a time is dedicated to providing care and support to survivors and victims of trafficking. The safe home offers comprehensive services, including counseling, legal support, first-aid and medical treatment, family tracing and reunion, referrals, education support, skill development, and livelihood assistance. As of December 2022, a total of 241 girls and women have received protection and support within this safe  space.

Skills Development, Education, and Self-Reliance: In-house sessions on life skills and non-formal education are integral components of the comprehensive services provided. Individual and group counseling play a crucial role in helping survivors overcome the anxiety, stress, and trauma resulting from exploitative situations. Additionally, skill development is ensured through long-term vocational training for those project participants assessed as the neediest and most committed. This training is followed by job placement and support for micro-enterprises to promote self-reliance among survivors and at-risk groups. In certain cases, families of the girls receive livelihood support, while the girls themselves are supported in pursuing education, reducing their vulnerability.

Community mobilization: Community mobilization is integral to combating cross-border trafficking in regions with open borders. GSIF Nepal, in collaboration with Opportunity Village Nepal engages the local community in border areas. This has been made possible through the formation, empowerment, and mobilization of protection committees. There are 13 protection committees with a total of 165 members actively contributing to community surveillance in these bordering areas. Moreover, two border surveillance centers operate at the border, providing information and counseling to individuals traveling to India. On average, these centers reach 6,500 people annually, offering guidance on safe migration and anti-human trafficking. In 2022 alone, they reached 8,896 individuals. Suspicious cases identified through interception forms are promptly handled by the police.

Networking and partnership: GSIF Nepal collaborates with national and international organizations and networks to combat cross-border human trafficking. The organization maintains an ongoing collaboration with Caritas India to facilitate discussions and advocate for the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in rescuing and repatriating trafficking survivors and victims from India to Nepal. Additionally, Opportunity Village Nepal consistently engages with local governments to formulate these procedures at the local level. Furthermore, GSIF Nepal actively networks with district-level organizations, the police, local governments in Nepal, the Sashastra Seema Bal (border guarding force) in India, KIN India, Child Welfare Committees, Anti-Human Trafficking Units, PGSS, Manab Sewa Sanstha, and MMF India to combat cross-border human trafficking.

 

2. Safe Migration

In 2022, the ‘Nepal Labour Migration Report’ revealed that the Department of Foreign Employment issued 4.7 million labor approvals for overseas employment since 2008/09, with an additional 1.8 million renewals. Between 2019/22, Nepalese workers migrated to 150 countries, significantly contributing to the nation’s development through remittances. In 2021, remittances accounted for 23.8 percent of the national GDP. However, despite the benefits of overseas employment, it has often exposed migrant workers, particularly women, to contract fraud, exploitation, and abuse. In response, GSIF Nepal collaborates with the National Network for Safe Migration to promote safe migration.

Information for aspiring migrant workers: Authorized orientation centers provide mandatory sessions for migrant workers, covering topics such as fraud, trafficking, exploitation, and abuse. They also receive information about relevant agencies in their destination countries for assistance in case of difficulties. Each year, approximately 150 aspiring migrant workers benefit from these sessions.

Capacity building for migrants workers:  The knowledge and skills of returning migrant workers, especially females, are enhanced with a focus on improving their financial literacy and facilitating their reintegration. Currently, GSIF Nepal is providing support to 20 female returnee migrants to improve their financial literacy, along with orienting them about government reintegration schemes.

Advocacy at the national level: Human trafficking and migration are closely intertwined. To address the link between human trafficking and migration, policy-level discussions and actions are essential. Regular meetings with member organizations of networks, coordination meetings with primary duty-bearers, especially government agencies, dialogues with recruitment agencies, and national-level consultations are organized to advocate for addressing policy gaps.

 

3. Child Protection

GSIF Nepal is dedicated to strengthening child protection mechanisms. Currently, GSIF Nepal collaborates with Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center (CWIN Nepal) to prevent online sexual exploitation of children. Child protection activities include policy-level discussions, awareness campaigns in schools and communities, emergency support for exploited and abused children, educational assistance, and staff capacity enhancement for the child helpline.

Policy-Level Interventions: Regular meetings with key stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Women, Children, and Senior Citizens, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Nepal Telecommunication Authority, Cyber Bureau, National Human Rights Commission, and the Office of the Attorney General, are organized. These meetings have been instrumental in fostering dialogue between civil society representatives and policy-level stakeholders, leading to the development of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for handling legal cases of online sexual exploitation of children.

Awareness in Schools and Communities: Raising awareness among children, teachers, parents, and communities is crucial to prevent online sexual exploitation of children. Since it is impossible to prevent children from using the internet, it is essential for both children and parents to be aware of safe internet usage. They should also be well-informed about the structures and processes to follow in case of online abuse or exploitation. To address these aspects, awareness programs are conducted in schools, child clubs, and communities.

Emergency Support and Capacity Building for Child Helpline: CWIN Nepal operates a toll-free child helpline (1098) in all provinces of the country. Recognizing the need for effective handling of calls and cases related to online sexual exploitation of children, staff capacity at the child helpline is enhanced. Ten children who have been exploited or abused online receive emergency support, including legal assistance, annually.

Advocacy initiatives

National Workshop on National Strategic Plan for Children: GSIF Nepal collaborated with Consortium Nepal to organize a national workshop involving child representatives from seven provinces. Recommendations were made in four key areas of child rights: Right to Life, Protection, Development, and Participation. These recommendations were submitted to the Prime Minister and the relevant ministry for inclusion in the upcoming National Strategic Plan for Children.

National and Provincial Consultations on Anti-Human Trafficking Plan: GSIF Nepal, along with AATWIN and OVN, collected and submitted recommendations for the National Plan of Action against human trafficking. These recommendations came from provincial stakeholders in Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces, as well as national stakeholders in Kathmandu. The workshops focused on six major strategies: Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Capacity Building, Coordination, and Monitoring & Evaluation. The insights from stakeholders contributed to identifying key issues and strategies for the National Plan of Action against Human Trafficking, bridging the gap between policy-making and grassroots agencies.

Child-Led CRC Report in 2022/23: GSIF Nepal partnered with Consortium Nepal to conduct provincial consultations in Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces, involving child representatives from each district. These consultations addressed children’s issues based on their contexts and were used to prepare a child-led supplementary report for “The Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)”. National consultations were also organized to create a platform for children from diverse backgrounds to voice their concerns. Key recommendations included effective law implementation, increased participation, parental care, respect for children’s opinions, and opportunities for expression.

Collaboration with Law Drafting Committee in Gandaki Province: GSIF Nepal, in coordination with the National Child Rights Council in Gandaki Province, worked with the Law Drafting Committee on the “Provincial Consultation Program on the Draft of the Act Relating to Children.” Stakeholders provided input on the draft act based on their expertise, experiences, and challenges related to children’s issues, including the involvement of minors in AES in the provincial act.

Collaboration with National Child Rights Council (NCRC): GSIF Nepal collaborates with NCRC in Gandaki Province to strengthen child protection mechanisms by forming child rights committees in local governments. These committees play a vital role in safeguarding children’s rights as envisioned in the Act Relating to Children 2018, which includes the provision of child welfare officers, child welfare funds, psychosocial counselors, and social workers in local governments. GSIF Nepal and NCRC focus on structural formation and capacity enhancement to ensure these provisions are met in Gandaki Province’s local governments.

PROJECTS LOCATIONS

Kathmandu, Bhagwanpur, Pokhara  

HIGHLIGHTS

3

Projects

20,881

Beneficiaries

5

Local staff

AREAS OF INTERVENTION

null
Girls and Women's Empowerment
null
Human Rights
null
Emergency Relief

COUNTRY BACKGROUND / OVERVIEW

Nepal still remains one of the world’s poorest countries, whose economic, social and environmental conditions have become extremely fragile, in the wake of 2015 massive earthquake and the widespread damaging floods and landslides that occurred in the past years.  

Women and girls are low in social status compared to men. They bear the burden of most of the work, particularly in rural areas where the economy is 75% agricultural and subsistence in nature. With livelihood opportunities restricted in villages, rural youth migrate to the cities for work and better opportunities, and some to other countries, like Malaysia. Girls are driven to migrate as domestic workers to the Gulf countries and India, while both men and women migrate to India, China, Korea and Myanmar in search of alternate livelihoods. Rural girls and women, over 40% of them illiterate (lower in urban areas) are trafficked to cities in Nepal for the adult entertainment industry.  

Facts and figures

15,000 Nepali women and 5,000 children were trafficked in 2019 (TIP) 

17% of workers in adult entertainment sector in Kathmandu are minors (source: Freedom Fund 2018) 

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