Travel Weekly recently visited SASANE in Kathmandu with G Adventures founder Bruce Poon Tip, where we witnessed first-hand the impact tourism can have on empowering women and reclaiming their rights.
SASANE was formed in 2008 as a non-profit working to empower survivors of human trafficking to break the cycle of corruption in Nepal.
It works to combat human trafficking by training survivors as paralegals, making them the first point of contact for other victimised women through placements in police stations.
This innovative program, supported by G adventures and Planeterra, won the United Nations World Tourism award in 2016 for excellence and innovation.
Human trafficking is a $150 billion-dollar industry, according to the International Labour Organisation, and Nepal is an epicentre for it.
Some 7500 young girls are trafficked into India for commercial sexual exploitation every year from Nepal, and 54 Nepalese children disappear every day. Girls living in rural villages where poverty is high are the most vulnerable.
Because rescued girls often fear returning home due to shame or for being rejected due to dishonour bought to their family, SASANE steps in to provide medical, psychological and educational support.
The program starts there with the basics (food, shelter, medical help and counselling), but its broader reach and primary role is to break the cycle of exploitation by increasing women’s access to justice and training survivors in para legal practice.
The women who work there have all been victims and are rebuilding their lives with a purpose to help others. It is truly remarkable and inspiring to witness how these brave women can step up and help others against all odds thanks to the support of this program.
Additionally, SASANE has a number of school awareness programs and community outreach programs to educate families and the broader community on this treacherous industry and what they can do to fight it.
In the space of just a few years, SASANE has trained over 270 women in para legal practice, with 400 court cases served by them. Others with less education are taught tourism skills to reduce their risk of being re trafficked or abused.
To travel to Kathmandu and to visit and learn how to make momo dumplings is a must do. This is followed by a delicious Nepalese lunch, with all proceeds go directly to the SASANE programs.
Make a difference and be inspired on your next trip to Nepal.