The Long Rescue – trafficking of Indian children to Nepal

A great deal is written, including by ChoraChori, about the trafficking of Nepalese children to India. But it is worth remembering that Nepal is also a destination country for child trafficking. In “The Long Rescue” feature from the June issue of Harper’s Magazine journalist Sonia Faleiro describes the where, why and how of it all, supported by great pictures from Brian Sokol. I have to take issue with Sonia’s description of Bhaktapur: “The kiln was located at a high altitude, and in January the mountains were covered in ice. Trapped in the midst of thick forests, the seven boys felt terrified and helpless.” This is far from the dusty town on the outskirts of the Kathmandu conurbation that I know. There’s no high altitude and ice in Bhaktapur. However the remainder of the article rings true from what we have seen – the traffickers’ deception and the indifference, indeed the opposition, of the police. And nothing surprises in a scenario where it’s difficult to distinguish the good guys from the bad. Note how she describes how one trafficker kidnaps children while his brother-in-law extracts information on the their whereabouts.

I remain full of admiration for the NGOs, and especially ChoraChori, in how they can continue to operate and succeed against such a nefarious backdrop and do so with such limited support.

Images by Brian Sokol

Clotilde taking the low road for Nepal

SocialMediaCoverImage_851x315_EDIN27_1464426296278ChoraChori Trustee Clotilde Hunter has been keeping busy for the past six months fundraising for the charity. This has involved a lot of training (and injuries!) preparing for not one but two marathons while baking and selling cakes and pastries for us in her spare time….

This has been a particularly huge effort for Clotilde as she is not a runner and when she took her place in the Champs Élysées last month it was for her first-ever marathon. Having conquered Paris with élan she turned her sights on Edinburgh and tomorrow will be her second – and, she says, last ever – marathon. So far she’s raised an incredible £5,293 (including Gift Aid) towards our work in Nepal and this is your last chance to join me in sponsoring her. You can do that online through this link or you can text her a fiver – see the instructions on the graphic. Many thanks and bon chance Clotilde!

Clotilde selling cakes IMG_6713 Edinburgh Marathon route

ChoraChori approved for GlobalGiving Challenge in June!

I’m very pleased to announce that after an exhaustive due diligence process ChoraChori has been approved to take part in the GlobalGiving Gateway Challenge next month. “Educating Reeti” is a crowdfunding campaign that will run from 13th June to the 18th July. We’ll be aiming to raise £36,090 to restore sustainable education to three village areas on the edge of Kathmandu valley, including completing the rebuild of three schools that were destroyed in last year’s Nepal earthquakes. This is a “Gateway” for us as if we can raise at least £2,500 from 50 individual donors we’ll be approved as a GlobalGiving “partner”, paving the way to future corporate grant support and other major benefits. And it’s a “Challenge” as we’ll be competing with a group of other outstanding charities who’ll have their eye on the £1,500 bonus prize for the most successful participant!

Now I need to prepare as much as possible before the launch at 2 p.m. on the 13th. If you happen to know a major funder or corporate who might be willing to become a core funder or even match public donations please let me know as soon as possible.

Qatar Airways refuses to help needy Nepali children

Our supporter Carol Talbot at Bluebell Studios nursery in Liverpool has been busy collecting second-hand children’s clothes for me to take with me on my trip to Nepal this coming Wednesday. The clothes are for children at Chapakharka in the hills above Kathmandu. They are pictured, bibs pinned to tops, inside their corrugated iron “Temporary Learning Centre”. They don’t have much and they even lost their school in the earthquakes of April/May last year. For my part I am more than happy to shoulder this additional weight on the train journey to London given the need and what these children have had to live through.

Yesterday I wrote to Qatar Airways customer relations in London as follows:

“I am a privilege club member (220138387) and the CEO of registered children’s charity ChoraChori (reg no 1159770). Next Wednesday evening I will be flying with Qatar Airways to Kathmandu, leaving Heathrow on the QR16. I would like to take with me an additional 15kg of baggage containing donated children’s clothes as support to families in the hills above Kathmandu who lost so much in last year’s earthquakes. Would it be possible to be granted this extra amount free as a charitable donation?”

I was shocked by the response. Tony D Little replied that they can’t help as they’ve exhausted their budget in this regard. He offered me the link to the excess baggage costs which indicates that this consignment of hope would cost the charity US$375 (£255).

This decision makes no kind of sense to me. I can safely bet that there will be at least two or three overweight passengers on the flight who’ll be welcomed with open arms by Qatar Airways with no mention of the extra baggage they’re carrying around their midriffs. 15kg is nothing in the overall scheme of things. We live in such an unjust and immoral world. Qatar Airways in government-owned, the same government that recently gifted eight Mercedes-Benz E-Class cars and one Mercedes-Benz jeep to the Nepal government. See this press report.

If you would like to protest (politely) this decision by “customer relations”, Tony Little’s e mail address is [email protected]

Trustee Julie Graham arrives in Nepal today carrying an additional 20kg of clothes collected from friends in Northern Ireland. She is doing so at the expense of her personal allowance and I of course will do the same. If you’d like to support Julie and the children of Chapakharka you can do so directly through this link.

Thanks for any support that you can give us at this time.

His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, CEO Qatar Airways

Running in Northern Ireland for Nepal

Mourne 10kmOn the 11th June ChoraChori Trustee Julie Graham will be running the arduous 10km Mourne Way run with four of our other Northern Irish supporters. The Mourne Way runs through an area of outstanding natural beauty in the mountains of the same name in the southeast of Northern Ireland.

We’re trying to recruit a few other runners to join the team and if you’d like to sign up you can still do so through this link.  However if you prefer to be there in spirit rather than in body you can sponsor the team through this link. The sponsorship proceeds will be in support of our work in rebuilding a school destroyed by the earthquake at Chapakharka, Kavre District.

Three more Nepali children returning from Delhi

Shailaja and Abha return from Delhi this morning with three more displaced Nepali children on their way back to Nepal. This brings to 60 the number that ChoraChori has rescued since last August. They include Munde whose family we are still trying to trace. This will be (slightly) less of a challenge once he is in Nepal. Two other ChoraChori team members returned to Nepal earlier after a major rescue had to be postponed for reasons that we can’t discuss at this stage. We hope to sort out that unfinished business by the end of this month. Onwards and upwards.

Shailaja with Munde Shailaja with three displaced Nepali boys

Nepali child trafficking victim in Indian jail

jail_650x400_41454525512On their latest visit to India the ChoraChori rescue team has been investigating the case of a 16 year old boy from Bardiya, west Nepal, who has ended up in an Indian jail after being trafficked.

Gopal was taken by a fellow villager to Delhi with the promise of work and handed over to an Indian trafficker. This transfer between agents is common practice. The Indian agent put him to work in a shop that was selling alcohol illegally. Six months ago the police raided the shop and the owner fled, leaving Gopal to be arrested in his place.  Someone misinformed the police that the boy was 23 and on that basis he was charged and sent to prison in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. Gopal managed to get word to his family in Nepal through a released former jail inmate who also happened to be a Nepali. The family contacted us and in parallel went to the Nepal embassy in Delhi. Although they have a birth certificate to prove that he is indeed sixteen nothing has happened to get him freed.

ChoraChori has now contacted the Child Welfare Committee in Noida and Childline Noida. The Noida Childline coordinator has since been to the jail and will visit the police station where the case was filed. At our request Childline will establish how this child has been charged as an adult and on what basis. While this is being sorted out we have asked that the boy be transferred to a Juvenile Justice Home with all haste.

We suspect that many children and young people who are trafficking victims could also be being held in Indian prisons and young offenders’ centres. Gopal was fortunate in that he was able to get a message to the outside that prompted our intervention.

Alleged rape of Nepali minor in Goa

Former Minister in Goa under arrest for alleged rape of Nepali minor

The alleged rape of a Nepali minor girl by a senior politician in Goa has been in the headlines nationally and internationally. See this report from an Australian online journal. Shailaja and Abha from the ChoraChori Nepal rescue team have just been to Goa to investigate the case and assess the situation. We can’t write at this stage about their findings as the case is ongoing but they are satisfied that the girl is safe and the local authorities are managing the matter very well. They went back to Delhi today to follow up a second alleged trafficking case before returning to Nepal later this week.

More on the team’s India visit tomorrow.

Still no leads on lost Nepali boy

We’ve still had no leads on the whereabouts of Munde’s family although there will be a notification on Nepal TV this evening. And this ad will appear in two of the national newspapers tomorrow. Please help us by sharing this post (if you’re Nepali) and/or the original blog post.

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