Thursday, December 2, 2010


           That petit woman hoisting the CNN award in front of the cheering crowd of supporters and well-wishers, at the fourth annual "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" is not any ordinary housewife from Nepal. She is the crusader, Anuradha Koirala, who has been fighting against sex-slavery and human trafficking in Nepal through her organization Maiti Nepal for almost 2 decades now. She established Maiti Nepal (maiti means Mother's House in Nepali) in 1993 and ever since she has rescued more than 12,000 women and girls who had been sold to various brothels in India. Through Maiti Nepal, she has provided the women and girls rescued thus. She has created a home for them. Maiti Nepal is a place for those girls to heal, learn skills, get educated and for those who are infected by HIV/AIDS, it is an abode of compassion and support to live their rest of the lives. 

"Human trafficking is a crime, a heinous crime, a shame to humanity," Anuradha Koirala said after being introduced as one of the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2010. " I ask everyone to join me to create a society free of trafficking. We need to do this for all our daughters." 

In a country where fathers' sale their own daughters at times, due to poverty, being a fighter against human trafficking must be like swimming against the tide, let alone the fight she has to put up with the buyers and miscreants in India, the Mafia responsible for the whole chain of misdeed.  One top of that , the fight she has to put up with the victims themselves is colossal in itself. Once sold to the brothels, girls and young women, at times, prefer not to go back to Nepal due to the fear of being outcasted for good from the society they grew up, even from their own house, which is nothing new in a very constrained and conservative Nepali society.  

Durning the CNN ceremony Demi Moore praised Anuradha thus: "Everyday this woman confronts the worst of what humanity has to offer." "She says, 'Stop. Stop selling our girls'. By raiding brothels and patrolling the India-Nepal border, she saves girls from being sold into the sex trade, where they are being repeatedly raped for profit, tortured and enslaved."

Anuradha, indeed, is a gem among us. And she deserves all the awards and support that we can give her. I wish more Anuradha like her would be born so that if she was to falter, if she was to stagger, if she was to stop with her hands on her hip and look up at the appalling hill of yet another 'heinous act of human grotesqueness' and waiver at her own strength doubtfully, another Anuradha would put her hand on her shoulder and say, " Sister, you slow down, I will carry forward."

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