Before the earthquake devastated Nepal, there were estimated to be 620,000 children there working as slaves. Their ages ranged from 5 to 17. They were rag pickers or carpet weavers…
Before the earthquake six months ago, Sumitra was an orphaned servant – one of 620,000. She was injured in the quake, and since she was only the household maid, a Cinderella maid who had worked in the home of her “family” since she was 8-years-old, no one came looking for her. She is now safe in a NGO home with other children. Virgina Perez who is the director of Unicef Nepal, said, “In a less secure environment, such as after an earthquake, there is a risk that trafficking of children and women will increase. Children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation if they have been separated from their families, either as a direct result of the earthquake, or because families feel they can no longer care for them.”
The earthquake actually jump-started the NGOs into action. They all worked together to provide food and shelter and water. Other child protection initiatives that had been discussed for a long time, became realities. Sumitra says, “I felt so happy I was finally going to be taken away – I was finally going to be free!”
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