18-24 April 2014 #703

Stop child trafficking

Editorial, Himal Khabarpatrika, 6 April

Opening an ‘orphanage’ has become big business, a way to make money in the name of social service. The homes promise education to the parents of children living in remote areas, and once they are in Kathmandu the children are either exhibited to foreigners who donate for their support, or are sent to work at the homes of the well-to-do, and some are even sold for foreign adoption. The trafficking business has political protection, which is why enforcement of the law is lax.

Part of the reason for this societal apathy towards trafficking is the legacy of impunity and the culture of ‘anything goes’. When known perpetrators of abductions, rape, torture and murders walk around freely, it sends the message that crime pays. The shocking part of trafficking is that the government sanctions it. The government allows some children homes to sell children for overseas adoption for $5,000. It is a government rate.

This is why there are orphanages around every corner. They are concentrated in tourist areas of the country, where traffickers find easy money from bleeding-heart donors. It is not just the traffickers who are guilty, so is the government, the political parties and citizens who turn away from facing this crime head-on.

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