Activist offers insight into efforts to fight human trafficking
CEDAR CITY (Thespectrum): As part of a two-day conference on human trafficking at Southern Utah University, Anuradha Koirala spoke during a special convocation Thursday about her efforts to save women and children from traffickers and put an end to the practice altogether.
Koirala was named the 2010 CNN Hero of the Year, and she is the founder and chairwoman of an organization called Maiti Nepal that rescues young girls and women from traffickers who are generally using the girls and women for the sex trade in Nepal and India. She said more than 12,000 Nepalese women and children become victims of human trafficking annually.
Koirala’s presentation sparked such a strong desire by the audience to help victims of trafficking that Ksenya Plumb, president of the Red Thread Movement Club at SUU that is selling bracelets to provide funding for the purpose of raising awareness about human trafficking, was bombarded after the presentation by people wanting to buy the red thread bracelets until she completely sold out.
While SUU sophomore Courtney Winkler waited in line to buy a bracelet, she said Koirala’s presentation created the desire in her to find out what she could do to prevent human trafficking. She said she does not want to neglect doing something after hearing about the problem.
“It’s so important. There’s so many lives at stake,” Winkler said.
Geralyn Dreyfous, producer of a documentary film about human trafficking entitled, “The Day My God Died,” introduced Koirala to the audience.
“She’s fearless, and she’s tireless, and she’s tired a lot of the time because she works so hard,” Dreyfous said.
Koirala told the audience how she first started learning about the problem of human trafficking in 1993 when she started to help unemployed women who were survivors of violence to establish their own businesses in the city marketplaces in Nepal.
The women then asked her to do something to protect their young daughters who were spending much of their days on the streets, making them vulnerable to traffickers, so she started a small home that initially provided safety for 10 girls. The organization has grown to provide a number of homes throughout India and Nepal.