Participant Blogs

Nepal - Trafficking

Last week (#3) was a lot of fun. On Thursday when I arrived at SASANE Shyam was dressed in a suit and said he was on his way to the appellate court to argue a trafficking case. I asked if I could go with him and he said yes. Long story short two years ago 23 Nepalese girls were rescued from an orphanage in India where they were abused. Shyam worked to rescue them with an organization called The Easter Benjamin Memorial Foundation. They work to rescue human trafficking victims and providing them shelter and care. The government of India was contacted and the girls were returned to Nepal. The way the case was managed was mis handled. Under Nepalese law if there is evidence of trafficking the police are required to investigate. Even though the children were returned to their families no investigation was started by the police. The hope is to bring the traffickers, the police, the media and others involved to justice. The media because after the story of this case broke two years ago the media slandered the work that anti trafficking organizations were doing. Unfortunately traffickers have a very powerful presence in Nepal. First Shyam brought the case to the lower court and the judges sided with the government lawyers. Last Thursday Shyam appealed the case to the appellate court of Nepal. I am not sure how the US system works but in Nepal there are 76 district courts one Appellate court of Nepal and one Supreme court of Nepal both of which are located in Kathmandu. As a quick side note: the Supreme court of Nepal consists of 14 judges who hear 49,000 cases a year. When Shyam told me this I laughed and explained how the US Supreme Court operates a little differently. A women who works at the EBMF as a phycologist came and watched the case with me. The first half hour the government lawyer stood up and talked very loudly waving papers and his hands in the air (also a map at one point). After he finished speaking he left and Shyam spoke for just under ten minutes. The judges were interested in seeing the evidence of the media’s slander. We took a break for lunch and when we returned Shyam talked to the judges for about a minute before walking out of the court room smiling. The judges had agreed that the lower court were wrong and wanted to move the case forward. Afterwards we went to the Easter Benjamin Memorial Fund’s annual board meeting. It was very interesting even though I couldn’t understand what was being said. The budget was written in English so I had some idea what was being discussed.

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