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The Moving Forum: Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. The Moving Forum will be examining the various aspects of the topic this month.

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The Moving Forum is a discussion series initiated by the U.S. Embassy’s Book Bus that brings together prominent practitioners and experts with the aim of hosting an informative and engaging conversation on a chosen topic.

As part of its inaugural series, The Moving Forum will focus on the topic of human trafficking and modern slavery. Human trafficking, a form of modern slavery, is a crime in which force, fraud, or coercion is used to compel a person to perform labor, services, or commercial sex.  This series will feature three panel discussions on various aspects of the topic and will be hosted by Bhavna Adhikari from January 27 to 29. 

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Panel 1: Who are modern-day slaves?

Slavery, often thought to have been abolished worldwide in the late 1800s, continued to be practiced in Nepal till the first two decades of the 1900s. The Rana regime declared slavery illegal in 1925, thus putting an end to slavery in Nepal. This is far from true as modern-day slavery continues hidden in plainsight; in the form of servitude, forced or bonded labour, trafficking, and forced marriage.

Date: Jan. 27, 2021 
Time: 4:00 pm 
Speakers:  Dr. Meena Paudel (Policy and Program Advisor at IOM, and Jeevan Baniya (Assistant Director and Researcher at CESLAM)

Panel 2:  Confined Freedoms

Nepalis migrate for foreign employment seeking better employment opportunities, to provide a better life to families left behind. A large number of Nepalis also migrate seeking freedom from poverty, discrimination, abuse at home. Unfortunately, many find themselves in the mire of human trafficking with stifled voices and confined freedoms. In this discussion, speakers will share their lived experiences of surviving trafficking and championing the cause of anti-trafficking.  

Date: Jan. 28, 2021 
Time:  4:00 pm
Speakers: Charimaya Tamang (Founder of Shakti Samuha) and Som Lamichhane (Founder of PNCC)
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Panel 3: Makwanpur to Mombasa: Should policies be deterrent or provide protection?

A report by the National Human Rights Commission states that 35,000 Nepali men, women and children were trafficked in 2018. About 1000 Nepali women are rescued annually from India. Nepalis have been rescued from China to Malawi to Mombasa. The trafficking-in-person (TIP) report puts Nepal on Tier 2. In this session, we discuss if current legislations and treaties are enough to deter the traffickers; is it enough to deter Nepalis to take a seat on the plane? Or should policies provide protection and refrain from hindering people’s right to movement?

Date: Jan. 29, 2021 
Time:  4:00 pm
Speakers: Neha Chaudhary (National Project Coordinator at ILO), Subina Shrestha (Journalist and Filmmaker) and Chris Hoffman (Human Rights Officer at U.S. Embassy Nepal)

The Book Bus is one of the nine American Spaces in Nepal.

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