March 13, 2012

Bhutanese refugees in Nepal: A day in the life

By |13 March 2012|

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 […]

Domestic worker abuse: Battered, bruised but back in Nepal

By |8 March 2012|

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 […]
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    Drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in brothel: how one Nepalese woman fought back

Drugged, kidnapped and enslaved in brothel: how one Nepalese woman fought back

By |7 March 2012|

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 […]

February 27, 2012

‘They’ve sold you’: sex trafficking in Nepal

By |27 February 2012|

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 [...]

How human traffickers recruit

By |13 February 2012|

By Laura Sheahen  This is Part 1 of a two-part article on human trafficking. To find out more about how COATNET helps former victims, see Part 2. “When we started in the early 2000s, a common way for traffickers to lure people was through ads in the newspapers,” says Gabriela Chiroiu of Caritas Bucharest. “They’d offer attractive jobs in modeling or dancing, needing no experience. The ad would say ‘young people preferred.’” “In Romania, unemployment is high. Factories and companies continue to close,” says Chiroiu. “People think, ‘OK, someone’s offering a job that’s maybe not the best job in the world, but something is better than nothing.’” But the ads were really targeting teenage girls for sex work. “Then people started being careful about such ads,” she said. “We and other groups checked all the modeling agencies—we called them. We created a blacklist of about 20 agencies.” Today, such ads are more likely to be on [...]

September 19, 2011

Earthquake shakes India, Nepal and Bangladesh

By |19 September 2011|

A strong earthquake shook areas of India, Nepal and Bangladesh on Sunday night, 18 September. The epicentre of the 6.8-magnitude quake is in Sikkim, India, an area not far from the border with Nepal. Caritas India is in touch with religious sisters in the city of Gangtok, the capital of Sikkim, and with a priest in Darjeeling, also in the region. They report that large cracks have developed in the buildings and a few old buildings have collapsed in Gangtok.  In Gangtok proper, they say that government institutions and businesses are open, while schools are closed. News reports say that rescue workers are pulling victims or survivors from quake-struck buildings in Gangtok. Roads in the areas of Gangtok and Darjeeling are closed due to landslides and heavy rains, say Caritas contacts in the region. Most Catholic churches, schools and convents in the region are safe, but the Holy Cross Montessori School was [...]

July 7, 2011

Climate justice

By |7 July 2011|

In western Nepal’s Syangja district there’s been no snowfall for three years and water sources which used to flow all year round have run dry. The villagers know their climate is changing. Twenty-four-year-old Sita Sharma Dhakal is worried that now rainfall is unpredictable and there are hailstorms which damage the crops. Sita studied to become a “farmer-trainer ” with Caritas Nepal and now teaches skills to other women in her village, Panchamul. “My trainees have increased their yields of cauliflower, beans and cabbages and some are even growing tomatoes in plastic greenhouses. But now for the last training course we had to pipe in water. I hope there will soon be enough in the stream again.” Caritas Nepal in partnership with Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, has helped the villagers tell their stor y of living with climate change in a new 15-minute film called “ Without Rain”. The film is being [...]

August 29, 2010

Caritas statement on human trafficking

By |29 August 2010|

Sanumaya Tamang and Sani Tam-ang were both 16 when they were taken to brothels in India. More than 10,000 women and children form Nepal are trafficked into India every year. Internal conflict, poverty, illiteracy and unemployment in Nepal are the root causes of the problem. In India, Caritas is working with authorities to toughen government boarder controls to shut down the activity. Caritas works around the global to combat trafficking. Caritas strongly condemns trafficking as a criminal act that violates basic human rights. Caritas is committed to taking decisive actions To raise public awareness and enable people to take preventative actions Caritas works in communities with at risk groups to explain the dangers of trafficking.Caritas also works with various key groups such as doctors, religious, social workers and government officials to build a long-term network of awareness building. To advocate for alternatives for vulnerable people Caritas works to provide alternatives to vulnerable groups who are looking to [...]

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