By Laura Sheahen
On a nondescript street in the capital of Romania, my colleague and I duck into a small, unmarked doorway and make our way up four narrow flights of stairs. In the stairwell, there are no posters or signs, none of the charity-related paraphernalia I usually notice when visiting organisations that fight human trafficking. We only see those when we reach the small attic office.
The organisation we’re visiting, ADPARE, has had to move offices a few times. The place is hidden because traffickers—criminals who buy and sell human beings—got too close.
We’re here to meet Adrian*, a 16-year-old boy who spent his childhood as a slave. Bought by a trafficker when he was a baby, Adrian grew up in Spain, forced to beg and steal.
He’d make hundreds of euros a day, and all of it went to his “false family,” as he calls it. At times he tried to […]
By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Policy and Advocacy Director
You could hear a pin drop when during the above mentioned conference the audience was confronted with the magnitude of the phenomenon of trafficking in Latin America. The evidence was presented as a film done by youngsters who travelling throughout the continent collected evidence in bars, on the streets, interviewing victims of trafficking, often minors, and bar owners and pimps. A shocking evidence of a continent which is seen as a continent of joy and sharing. This was evident as well in the testimonies of those who are working with persons which are being exploited.
But the conference as such was a great sign of hope! It is amazing what a group of engaged, lay volunteers can set up with reaching out to their contacts and networks! The participants and experts intervening, a mix of representatives from academia, religious congregations, engaged lay […]
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 […]
“It happened on 20 December 2009, in the province of Chiapas. When I fell off the train, my right leg went under the wheels. But I’m lucky. I’m still alive.”
It’s not the first time that Edwin, a migrant from Honduras, has crossed Mexico. His first journey across the country dates back to 2000. He managed to cross the border four times, and each time he was deported by the United States immigration authorities. Today he’s back in the Caritas migrant reception centre in Saltillo. After five months of travelling from Honduras, he’s arrived at his destination.
“I don’t want to go the United States anymore. I’ve come here to try and find an artificial limb. With God’s help, I’m counting on Caritas and the extraordinary people who work in this house to help me to get it.” With his new artificial leg, Edwin will give himself up to the immigration […]
It is 7:30pm, in Amatlan, in the province of Cordoba Veracruz. The train whistle blows in the distance. In Norma Romero Vazquez’ kitchen, headquarters of the “Patronas ”, women bustle about.. Carmen, 90, the oldest of the women in the family, takes a crate filled with bags of food.
Along with her daughters and granddaughters, Carmen goes to the railway that passes about ten meters away from her house. Over a distance of a kilometer, the fifteen women share the crates out between themselves. When the light of the train appears, they get as close as possible to the tracks and stretch out their arms laden with food bags. “God bless you”, cry the migrants aboard the goods train. In a few minutes, the train has gone. Back to Norma’s kitchen.
For over 15 years, Carmen, Norma and the others have been handing out food, clothing and medicines to the migrants on […]