A Different Kind of Trek
Karin and Jeff’s Blog from Nepal
My heart wept as Jeff and I drove through the Thamel district of Kathmandu, listening to our guide tell us about the exploitation and trafficking of young girls that happens there everyday. We are here in Nepal to find ways of helping victims on behalf of the Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry.
Even more disturbing was learning about the way women have been viewed as commodities throughout Nepal’s history, due to the dominance of Hinduism in their culture. The attitude is summed up well in the common expression, “Why water another man’s garden?” This means, among other things, that parents feel it is a waste to spend money educating their daughters, since they will one day become the legal property of another man, benefitting only him and his family.
That translates into the belief that it’s not such a big deal for the poor to sell their daughters into sex slavery—often before they are old enough to marry, thus “cashing in” early—sometimes for as little as $50.
As a woman myself I had so many emotions it was hard to control them. So we prayed and cried out to God as we walked and drove through the city, passing men, some of whom were clients, and the many “hidden” young women they use. We are confident that God loves them all, so we’re passionate about helping, as God opens the doors for change.
As we drove, our guide pointed out something referred to as “cabin restaurants.” Now for me, cabin restaurant conjured up pictures of a nice quaint log cafe where one can grab a home-cooked meal. But here in Nepal, it means something quite different. We saw them tucked into every strip of shops, sometimes around bus terminals where travelers from India have to spend the night waiting for their regional bus the next morning. Behind the curtain that serves as the door you can see a table and some chairs, but nothing on the shelves, not a product to sell, but sadly, a life to exploit…
Since the devastating April 25th earthquake shined the spotlight on the epidemic of human trafficking in Nepal, we’ve been making plans to get involved here. When Jeff needed to return to this beautiful country to check on efforts made by the Disaster Relief Ministry over the past 6 months, we made the trip together to also meet with some folks who are working effectively to prevent human trafficking.
Our new partners have lived here for over 20 years, and during the last 4, they’ve built a prevention program that is already bearing fruit. We love the idea of prevention—truly the best solution to the problem. We have made a commitment to come alongside this ministry, called Five14, to work together in Nepal. It’s a powerful thing when the body of Christ works in unity, so we hope to link YOU with some very fruitful kingdom work, making inroads that will save many lives and teach the beautiful Nepali people to value their women.
Today we invested in the rebuilding of a family home that was destroyed in the quake. This “Home Stay” dwelling will not only house a family, but also be used to host paying tourists who are trekking the Himalayas. The guests are served by the family and other indigenous villagers, thus bringing valuable income to them. Much more to come about sowing into self-sustainable projects that lift the poor out of poverty—and therefore help protect the innocent from traffickers—so stay tuned!
As always, we are honored to go, to see, and to report back to you all the ways we can together store up treasure in heaven by effectively helping some of the least of our brothers and sisters around the world.
For those who have no voice,
Jeff and Karin Trotter
Directors, Human Trafficking & Slavery Ministry
We don’t know Nepalese, but we were sure this little one was saying, “Can I please have another piece of candy?”