Yesterday Shailaja, Founder and Co-Director of ChoraChori-Nepal, went with her co-worker, Rita Mokhtan, to research a village in Parsa District, south Nepal. It is home to a community of 44 Dalit (“Untouchable”) families and around 50 children under the age of six who all looked very malnourished. The villagers informed our team that brokers come to the village regularly and take children and adults off to India with the promise of work. They end up mainly in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu. They might return because of the difficult work environment or remain there as they have no other alternative. But some go missing.
The purpose of Shailaja’s visit was to collect information following parents complaining formally about the disappearance of a number of children who were trafficked to a poultry farm in south India. After saying that she needed to identify the agent to establish the children’s whereabouts, Shailaja was surprised at how the villagers went off and returned a couple of hours later to bring him before her. The alleged agent is 45 year old Patall Mahatwo Dangar. Four months ago Indian relatives came to the village and offered money for him to go and work with children to the poultry farm. He found seven boys to go with him and they met with an Indian agent. After a month and a half at the farm Dangar asked for money but was told that it had already been given to the agent. An altercation followed and Dangar left the farm, while the children went missing.
Dangar has agreed to help trace the other agents but yesterday the team took him to the local police station. There, in collaboration with local NGO Sano Paila, the family of the missing children successfully filed a case against Dangar. Now, in collaboration with the police and NGO partners, ChoraChori needs to not only find the other agents but rescue these lost children from India.