Kristin Weinhauer is a Senior Technical Advisor for Health and HIV at Catholic Relief Service (CRS is a Caritas member). She previously worked in Vietnam overseeing several CRS health programmes including an HIV clinic, a drug rehabilitation clinic and work with highly vulnerable children.
Read the full interview in the HAART for Children 2013 Newsletter Issue No 1.
How would you describe “disclosure”?
Disclosing one’s status simply means that a person with HIV tells someone else that they have HIV. It could also be a parent or caretaker telling a child that they are HIV positive. Disclosure of HIV status to children is a process. The process involves caregiver and child, with parent or caregiver initiating and leading the process. A counsellor or health care worker provides a supportive role. Disclosure may also involve the sharing of caregiver’s and other family members’ HIV status. The disclosure process usually takes time and occurs after […]
The International Day on 18 December provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to Migrants and increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families. For copies of the prayer in 18 languages go to: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec
ORACION POR LOS NOMADAS ENTRE FRONTERAS – JORNADA MUNDIAL DE LOS EMIGRANTES (18 DE DICIEMBRE):Este Día Internacional brinda la oportunidad de promover la conciencia sobre las realidades de los migrantes, ampliando la comprensión de los factores sociales, económicos y demográficos que repercuten en los mismos. Para copias de la oración en 18 idiomas ver: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec
PRIÈRE POUR CEUX QUI SONT MIGRANTS – JOURNÉE MONDIALE DES MIGRANTS (18 DÉCEMBRE): Cette Journée Internationale offre l’opportunité de promouvoir la conscience des réalités concernant les migrants, en agrandissant la connaissance des procès sociaux, économiques et démographiques qui ont un effet sur elles. Per le copie della preghiera in 18 lingue vai a: http://jpicformation.wikispaces.com/EN_18Dec
Nepal’s August 2012 ban preventing women under 30 from working in Gulf countries is well-meaning but misguided, according to Caritas migration experts. The ban is intended to protect young women from suffering abuse while they work as maids in private homes. For years, Caritas has worked with survivors of such abuse.
“We appreciate the government of Nepal’s concern for migrant domestic workers,” says Rupa Rai of Caritas Nepal. “But the problems women face in Gulf countries will not decrease because of this age bar.”
Each year, hundreds of thousands of women leave Asian countries like Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines to work in Gulf countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Some are treated well, but others work long hours without being paid, often suffering beatings and sexual abuse.
Instead of banning migration outright, countries should develop “better strategies to provide both safety and decent work for women,” says Rai. […]
“My husband was getting sick a lot. He had tests—we went to different hospitals.” In the early 2000s, Manjula*, a woman raised in India but living in Nepal, was concerned that both her husband and small daughter were so often ill. “Then we went to a shaman. He said my husband got sick because he married a non-Nepali girl.”
Neither shamans nor hospital doctors could pinpoint what was really wrong. Manjula’s daughter Sonam* “always got sick—fever, dizziness , fainting,” Manjula remembers. “They thought it was things like pneumonia. She’d take antibiotics.”
After years of false leads, the family finally learned the truth: all three of them had HIV. “My husband was becoming thin as a stick,” says Manjula. “He died.”
Manjula was left alone with Sonam and a second daughter, a baby who was HIV-negative. “It was difficult to get the treatment in the village,” she says. “I didn’t know anything about […]
Caritas staff members and colleagues from six continents were in Rome for Caritas Internationalis governance meetings this week. They also had time to see a photo exhibit showcasing Caritas’ work to stop human trafficking and unsafe migration. The exhibit, hosted at the residence of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Miguel Diaz and funded by the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, featured images of young women in Nepal who are at risk of being trafficked. The photographs, which were taken by Katie Orlinsky, showed rural and urban scenes of women in Nepal, one of Asia’s poorest countries. Caritas members around the world work together to raise awareness of false job advertising and other tactics that traffickers use to lure women into unsafe situations.
In Asia’s slums or impoverished villages, women and teenage girls will listen when a well-dressed stranger offers them a job. In Nepal, a poor country on the northeast border with India, thousands of young women leave their homes in search of work abroad. Sometimes the jobs offered are legitimate—the women earn money and help their families. But sometimes they are sold by human traffickers and are forced to work for free. In the worst cases, they are beaten or forced into prostitution. Click on the photo to the left to see an audiovisual feature about the problem—and to find out what Caritas is doing to help.
Photos by Katie Orlinsky or Laura Sheahen
Audio by Laura Sheahen
What is human trafficking?
Human trafficking is a crime in which traffickers deceive and recruit people, often across national borders, for the purpose of exploitation (forced labour, beggary, prostitution or removal of organs). Traffickers often lure impoverished victims with false promises of good jobs. When a person is working against their will, is not being paid, and is unable to leave–or if the conditions of their work are not regulated–they may be victims of trafficking.
Where is Nepal and what is happening in Nepal?
Nepal is an extremely poor country on the northeast border with India. Due to poverty and lack of jobs, many Nepali people consider working abroad to earn money for their families.
What kinds of fake jobs are being offered?
Unscrupulous employment agents in Nepal might offer teenage girls work as a housemaid, or offer to make them a movie star in India. Other agents offer men construction jobs in the […]
By Laura Sheahen
Thirty-year-old Madhu Tharu has been working for other people since she was a little girl. A bonded labourer in a village of bonded labourers, the Nepali woman basically belonged to her landlord. The system of serfdom that trapped her wasn’t abolished in Nepal until the early 2000s. So for years, she worked all day. Her brothers, at least, were allowed to go to school. As a kamalari–a servant girl– she wasn’t.
As teenagers, Madhu and thousands of girls like her were prime targets of traffickers, criminals who sell girls into forced prostitution or forced labour. As adults, women like Madhu are prime candidates for overseas work as housemaids. Uneducated and impoverished, they sometimes face physical and sexual abuse when working for Middle Eastern families in places like Kuwait.
Though some women do indeed earn money when they go abroad, the risks of migration are serious. Even in the best […]
By Laura Sheahen “Where’s your mother?” Usually when you ask small children this question, the answer is predictable: At home. At the market. At work, a few kilometres or a drive away. In villages of Nepal, a deeply impoverished country on India’s northeast border, children answer differently. “In Kuwait.” “In Saudi.” “She’s in a foreign country.” Mahesh Upadhaya is older—he’s 17. “My mother went to Saudi Arabia for two years. I was 15 when she left,” says Mahesh, who lives in an area of western Nepal called Bardiya. “When my mother wasn’t here, I couldn’t go to school. I had to do chores and work in the fields.” Mahesh’s father is deaf, and as the oldest of five children, Mahesh had to help the family get by until his mother began sending home the money she earned as a maid for a Saudi Arabian family. About 200,000 Nepali women like […]
In the early 1990s the country of Bhutan, in the Himalayas, forcibly drove out over 100,000 ethnic Nepalis they claimed were not true citizens. These Bhutanese refugees ended up in eastern Nepal as migrants in limbo. Required to stay in refugee camps, they’ve lived for 20 years without electricity or good health care. The camp residents are also vulnerable to underhand job offers. In March 2012, photographer Katie Orlinsky and Laura Sheahen of Caritas Internationalis visited the camps with Rupa Rai, who runs safe migration programmes for Caritas Nepal. 8:00 As we drive along the road to the camp, we see refugee men bicycling into the nearby town of Damak for work like bricklaying. At the camp entrance, we pass a dozen thatched-roof kiosks with Western Union signs. Many refugees have finally been admitted into countries like the USA, Australia, and Canada. Some are doing well and are sending money […]
By Laura Sheahen, “When I got home, my family saw my condition and cried.” Twenty-four-year old Damber Kumari Gurung had left her village in Nepal for Saudi Arabia to work as a maid. More than a year later, she came back covered with bruises. She’d worked long hours in a private Saudi home, getting about four hours of sleep each night as she struggled to keep up with the cooking, cleaning and washing. The family she worked for rarely paid her, and when she asked for her salary, they sent her back to the employment agents in Riyadh. She can’t say exactly what happened next. She remembers fighting back when they tried to strip her, and ripping one of the agent’s shirts. When she arrived at the airport in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, she was black and blue. “I was crying bitterly. People surrounded me,” she says. A woman at the […]
By Laura Sheahen “In the brothel, there were no windows. The only light was from the lightbulb—that was the sun and the moon for us.” Charimaya Tamang grew up in the hill country of Nepal, working on her family’s farm. She was used to the outdoors and sunshine and freedom. But after waking from a drugged sleep thousands of miles from her village, the sixteen-year-old was shut in a room behind three doors, each one locked after the other. Unlike most girls from rural Nepal, Charimaya knew early on that the men who eventually abducted her were criminals. One had approached her in her village, complimenting her intelligence and her classroom work, suggesting she leave her home for better opportunities. “They’d say, ‘You have potential, you could work in a business,’” she remembers. But Charimaya had read in a book about human traffickers who buy and sell unsuspecting people into […]
To mark the launch of a new Caritas report on the female face of migration, communications officer Laura Sheahen and photographer Katie Orlinsky travelled to Nepal to document the trafficking of young girls and women. Follow their journey.
By Laura Sheahen
“We girls were hidden under floorboards during police raids. There were ten girls there — it was so cramped you couldn’t breathe.” Rekha* was fourteen when she left her homeland of Nepal for India, saying yes when a friend’s mother offered her domestic work abroad. But when Rekha reached India, there was no maid job. Instead, she found herself in a dark room with many other girls. “I cried a lot. I didn’t even know how to speak Hindi,” she remembers. “I met another Nepalese girl, and she said, ‘They’ve sold you.’”
Over the course of 18 months, Rekha was sold into three different brothels. In the last one, she convinced […]