Frequently Asked Questions - Tiny Hands International

Many questions concerning human trafficking have risen since the start of the Gila 100 campaign in regards to human trafficking.  I hope that this will answer most of your questions.  This FAQ is straight from the Tiny Hands International Website

What is Human Trafficking?
As defined by the United Nations, human trafficking is the “recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation"  Human trafficking often leads to human slavery, a distinct but related activity.
What is Sex Trafficking?
Sex-trafficking is trafficking of human persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation. Frequently trafficking woman are sold into brothels or kept as "domestic servants".  Other times they are sold to dance restaurants, massage parlors, or other similar situations that serve as a front for brothels.  Typically traffickers seek out younger girls, sometimes less than ten years of age, as younger girls are more profitable at the various "markets" at which the girls are sold.
How many people are trafficked every year around the world?
An estimated 800,000 people are trafficked each year.
How many girls are trafficked from Nepal to India every year?
An estimated 10,000-15,000 girls
What are the major factors that lead to sex-trafficking?
Trafficking is a very complex problem.  To put it crudely, trafficking is like any business, an interaction between supply and demand.  On the supply side in Nepal, you have a large, poor, uneducated, and exploitable population of young women who are desperate for any opportunity that may lead to a better life.  On the demand side, you have thousands of brothels, all being frequently visited by men who desire an ever younger population of girls.  Girls brought from other countries are sought out for several reasons.  One, trafficked girls are often considered more exotic and thus carry a higher sale price.  Two, trafficked girls have no legal status, family support, and often don't speak the native language.  These result in girls who are much less likely to flee the brothels or have family who try to take them.  These girls feel isolated and helpless, and generally yield to the demands of brothel owners with less coercion (i.e. rapes, beatings, verbal abuse, etc)
What strategies to traffickers use to traffic girls in Nepal?
Deception is the most common strategy to get girls to come with traffickers across the border.  Traffickers promise marriage, education, or employment opportunities to a population desperate for a ticket out of their poverty.  They know well the areas of the country where the most vulnerable girls live, i.e. the girls who have the greatest needs and the least education.  Traffickers will also make financial offers to relatives to sell the girls and aid in the deception.  Sometimes traffickers will simply drug the girls and transport them while sedated.  Often girls rescued will report awaking days later in India after they have already been sold.
What ways to NGOs around the world fight trafficking?
Because many factors lead to trafficking, their are many ways to fight it.  Organizations generally either focus on the source countries, i.e. where girls are trafficked from, or the destination countries, where they are trafficked to.  NGOs in source countries generally either focus on alleviating social burdens like poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment, or they focus on awareness about trafficking.  A few organizations, like Tiny Hands, work at the borders attempting to prevent the actual act of trafficking.  Work in destination countries is often focused on rescuing trafficked person from the brothels through organized raids, prosecution of brothels for illegal activity (keeping minors), or work with women and their children still in brothels to improve their life and prevent the cycle from perpetuating to the next generation.
How does Tiny Hands International fight trafficking?
Tiny Hands primarily works directly at the border between Nepal and India through border monitoring stations aimed at preventing traffickers from illegally transporting women across the border.
What is a border monitoring station?
A border monitoring station is, quite simply, the presence of hired staff at a discreet border crossing who watch for suspicious activity of those crossing the border and, with the help of local police, stop and question those suspected of trafficking.  Because of restrictions on vehicles crossing the border, most people cross via rickshaws, mule carts, or on foot en route to a train or bus station on the other side.  The buses are motorized vehicles that do cross are subject to inspection by police and our staff.  If suspected traffickers and their victims have conflicting stories, inadequate evidence to support their story, or otherwise given our staff a high level of suspicion, further investigation will ensue.
How many border monitoring stations does Tiny Hands operate?
Anywhere from 12-16 at a time in 2010.
How do organizations stop girls when there is an open border?
While there are 26 discreet border crossing along the Nepal-India border, there are numerous unofficial paths and unmarked roads where locals cross and can be used by traffickers.  The reason why most traffickers use the major roads is because most have lied to the girls, telling them they are bringing them to legitimate jobs or educational opportunities across the border. Smuggling them on side paths may raise suspicions for the girl.  Also, much of the border requires river crossing, thus border towns with bridges serve as the official crossings and funnels most people to discreet border areas.
What happens to the girls who are intercepted?
At five of our most effective border monitoring sites we have safe homes where trafficking victims can stay in the days and weeks following their interception.  From there most girls are able to return to their homes.  We have found that only 2% of girls trafficked have ever heard about trafficking, thus we make sure they are informed and can return to their villages wiser and able to others about the dangers of trafficking. 

For those who are unable to return home for any reason, we attempt to place them in ourWomen’s Empowerment Center (WEC) or a home through another organization.  At our WEC women receive literacy, job, and business training, in addition to counseling, Christian discipleship, and a safe place for them to stay.
What happens to the traffickers who are caught?
Under Nepali law, human trafficking carries a sentence of 30 years in prison.  Unfortunately, police often send traffickers away with a slap on the wrist, and a very small percentage of all traffickers caught by the police are prosecuted.  Tiny Hands trains border guards to gather information and begin legal cases against traffickers when possible.  See Prosecution and Investigation for more information.
Does Tiny Hands rescue girls from brothels?
No.  We feel that while organizations that work to rescue girls from India brothels are much needed, we have chosen to work towards prevention.  By stopping girls before they are trafficked, we prevent the torture of years of enslavement in a brothel, which often leaves girls broken, ashamed, estranged from their families, and with deadly sexually-transmitted infections like HIV and Hepatitis C.  You may want to visit International Justice Mission andFreedom Firm.