Sisterhood of Survivors
Nepal is a major hub for human trafficking with as many as 7,000 women and girls trafficked out of Nepal into India each year. There are an estimated 200,000 Nepalese women currently engaged in forced labour in brothels across India. Officials have made limited efforts to protect trafficking victims and cases of reported abuses are rarely filed and brought to prosecution. It is often the victims of trafficking that are wrongfully arrested, fined, and then bailed out by their traffickers, only further exploiting women and girls further into forced labour and abuse. Those most at risk of trafficking include young women and children in rural areas with limited education and financial resources, and women or girls who had been subject to abuse at home or child marriage.
SASANE was formed in 2008 as a non-profit working to empower survivors of human trafficking to break the cycle of corruption in Nepal. SASANE works to combat human trafficking by training survivors and at-risk women as paralegals, making them the first point of contact for other victimized women through placements in police stations in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara. SASANE also focuses on outreach to rural villages, and educating communities as a means of prevention. With SASANE, Planeterra has developed the Sisterhood of Survivors program where women teach travellers how to make traditional mo:mos (dumplings) and share a traditional thali lunch. G Adventures also funded the renovations of their kitchen, the equipment, and the furniture in their hosting space. This provided SASANE with its first opportunity to gain a sustainable income for their programs, as well as providing meaningful work in tourism for women.
Today, SASANE is thriving in the tourism sector. Winning the United Nations World Tourism Award for Excellence and Innovation in Non-Governmental Organization in 2016. The Sisterhood of Survivors program has trained 43 survivors and at-risk women in tourism, and helps cover the cost of SASANE’s programs. Moreover, with money saved through the tourism program, SASANE has sent 10 sisters for guide training. Now with formal training in tourism, the women hope to create more jobs for survivors and at-risk women, raise awareness amongst a larger group of travellers, and open up tourism to rural villages at-risk of trafficking as a means of alternative income. The sisters of SASANE continue to dream big on how tourism can be used to combat human trafficking, and hope to someday open their own restaurant.
Learn more about SASANE’s newly launched tourism business here.