Contributing Author and Photographer Michael Restivo – “Mike in Nepal” 3/15 Hi everybody. I wanted to write a very special blog over an event that happened yesterday that’s shaken our entire community here.
We have a little girl named Ashoka who comes to tutor with us every morning. She’s 10 years old, she’s the best English speaker and one of the most intelligent girls in our class. Yesterday, Ashoka was playing outside of her home when a man came up, and offered her money to go away with him. Ashoka was scared and thankfully ran away and into her house where she refused to come out. This disturbing event is made worse by another fact – Yesterday was also her birthday. The full details of what happened have not yet fully come out but this sick man has gone into hiding and will face the full scorn of this small town of about 100 people, many of them military families, including Ashoka’s father.
I bring to light this event because it is a practice that has become all too common in this part of the world. Not only the act of kidnapping, but the thought that kidnapping here usually also comes with the price of little girls such as Ashoka being sold into slavery.
7,500 girls are trafficked every year – many into India. Predators will promise money for them, promising them and their families a “better life”. In a part of the world where arranged marriages take care of a family’s financial security and name, girls are routinely considered to be extra weight, and fathers, especially in desperate need of money, are forced to give them up to false promises.
I do not know the intentions of this predator. What we do know is this was an attempted act of kidnapping, and in any context, it is a problem that all to commonly affects small rural towns like the one I am in now.
We are very lucky that Ashoka was able to use her better judgement, and it is in thanks to a minor miracle that she showed up to our class this morning, smiling, chatting, and laughing knowing that she has the full support of her teachers, and her community.
For more information about these heinous and disturbing trends please go here http://gvnet.com/humantrafficking/Nepal.htm will be back with a proper post later in the week. Thank you very much. Mike.