June 29, 2016 Chora Chori

Rescuing Nepali Children from India

ChoraChori sends child rescue teams into India to trace and rescue displaced and trafficked Nepali children. That’s one reason why we are unique within Nepal children’s charities.

An open border

The 1,200km open border between Nepal and India allows free movement of each country’s nationals without any restriction. This means that many Nepali children, mainly boys, cross into India in search of work, a better life or to escape domestic abuse. Some may just be seeking adventure and a change from the grim realities of rural life in remote Nepal. This flow of children increased because of the 2015 earthquakes that devastated hill village communities.

Shailaja with newly rescued Nepali boys

Shailaja with newly rescued Nepali boys

The open border also presents no obstacle to traffickers who prey on both boys and girls. There are no definitive figures for the scale of child trafficking. However an ILO rapid assessment from 2001 estimated that each year human traffickers take 12,000 girls across the border into the sex trade alone. There is no estimate for the trafficking of boys although that is also a major problem. Girls tend to enter the sex trade or domestic service (another form of slavery). Boys usually end up in forced child labour situations.

The ChoraChori field staff members are unrivalled in their experience of the cross-border rescue of Nepalese children. Led by Operational Director Shailaja CM, the rescue team goes into India and, in liaison with the Nepal and Indian authorities, finds Nepal’s lost children and brings them home. In 2016 the team repatriated 72 displaced Nepali boys. We have reunited all but 15 of these children with their families. The remaining children are now staying at our Kathmandu transit refuge.

Project Vision

We envision:

  • a joined-up process for prompt, coordinated Nepali child rescue from India
  • the Nepal authorities playing a central role in liaising with their Indian counterparts
  • the Indian authorities notifying Nepal’s Central Child Welfare Board as soon as a lost Nepali child is found in India

Project Aim

To have a sustainable child rescue, repatriation, rehabilitation and reintegration infrastructure fully in place by December 2019.

Project Objectives

We aim to:

  • research and map the whereabouts of displaced Nepali children and the most relevant governmental agencies and NGOs in India.
  • identify and network with possible child rehabilitation and childcare partners in Nepal
  • rescue a minimum of 100 Nepali children per year from India
  • rehabilitate and reunite at least 80 children per year with their families
  • prosecute any child traffickers and exploiters that we encounter during rescue work. This delivers justice for the children and prevents further trafficking

Our Activities

1.   Research:

We wish to appoint a researcher  who can map Indian government agencies, NGOs, children’s shelters (including major Indian orphanages) or juvenile correction centres. These will be primarily in north India, including the major cities of Delhi and Kolkata. While doing so the researcher will identify displaced and trafficked Nepali kids for the rescue team.

2.   Networking: 

Our researcher will also identify reputable NGOs in Nepal who can assist with:

  • rehabilitation and child trauma management
  • reunification of children with their families
  • long term childcare arrangements for those children who cannot be returned to their families. This will include fostering possibilities.

3.   Child Rescue:

Nepali child rescue

ChoraChori returns Nepali children to Nepal by the bus-load!

The ChoraChori rescue team goes into India to liaise with NGOs and the Indian authorities for hand over the children for repatriation and subsequent care. Sometimes family members join the team as this usually facilitates child identification and release, not to mention subsequent reunification. Costs involved are staff remuneration, travel and subsistence for the team and for returning children.

4.   Reunification of children with their families:

After children return to Nepal they pass through our transit refuge in Kathmandu. At the refuge we give each child a basic health check and any necessary rehabilitation. Meantime our field staff trace families and confirm domestic circumstances are suitable for reunification. This usually involves a visit to the child’s home. Once everyone is happy – including the child – we effect a formal return of the child to the family.

5.   Prosecution of child traffickers

Convicted Nepalese child traffickers face up to 20 years in prison. In our opinion imprisonment is the surest way of preventing trafficking. This is not only through taking criminals out of circulation but also by making an example of them to others.

Summary budget


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