The Beginnings of MountainChild
It all started when a small team trekking through the Himalayas stumbled across a group of 30 young children being escorted out of the mountains by two adult men… it didn’t take long to sense that something wasn’t right. Our worst fears were quickly realized when the two men openly spoke of their plans to sell the children into the booming sex trade industry of South Asia. That’s when we started crying. It wasn’t a shallow type of cry. This was deep, real deep, like a well, that frankly, we haven’t found the bottom of yet. We are still crying. That was in 2000. That is when MountainChild began. Today, MountainChild has helped to mobilize thousands from nations across the world into the great task of carrying hope to the mountain child.
Slavery and human trafficking do remain a rampant injustice in the Himalayas of Nepal. It is a mountain that is yet to be conquered. This great endeavor is an uphill climb but the summit must be reached. The most recent statistics identify an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery within Nepal. Approximately 23,600 women and girls are trafficked, missing, or are victims of attempted trafficking each year. Trafficking of girls from Nepal into India for forced prostitution occurs through perhaps one of the busiest slave trafficking routes anywhere in the world, with an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 Nepali women trafficked across the border every year. Even more staggering is that there are an estimated 100,000 to 200,000 Nepalese currently residing in the brothels of India. Ending modern day slavery should be a priority in each of our lives and recognizing that these numbers represent a human being, we should be compelled to shift into action.
In order to combat the injustice of human trafficking, one must first begin by identifying the roots and recognizing how there are many factors. These factors in the Himalayas of Nepal include, but are not limited to, poverty, lack of education, open borders, environmental conditions, fractured families, lack of good job opportunities, lack of access to even basic health care and medicine, and a trafficker’s willful decision to profit and exploit someone.
For 20 years MountainChild has been combating human trafficking and exploitation in the Himalayas through humanitarian work that is penetrating the roots of this injustice. Building schools to provide an education where few or no options exists, constructing and operating health posts, maternal and health education programs, poverty alleviation programs, community development projects, establishing social enterprises that specifically support survivors, working on legal reform, vocational training, fostering national partnerships for collaboration, or facilitating recovery through art, our mission is to see this travesty end and to carry hope to the impoverished children of the Himalayas. We all play a part in ending human trafficking. Help carry hope to the children of the Himalayas.