Becoming Miss America by rescuing trafficking victims on the India-Nepal border?

It’s been a long time since good looks and a song could get anyone elected as Miss America. Special consultants help celebrities choose their social causes carefully, so would-be celebrities must, as well. I have the feeling that no cause seems so foolproof these days as trafficking, especially rescue projects. From a story about Katie LaRoche soliciting votes in this month’s Miss America Pageant, I learned that she overtly presents her charitable work as reason to be elected (she is Miss Michigan). She founded One World One Future ‘dedicated to raising awareness of and actively combating human trafficking in the United States and around the world’.

The main goal is to provide money to another organisation, Maiti Nepal, for the purpose of building one or more shelters on the border between Nepal and India. Note that return to their villages is one result.

This shelter is estimated to rescue approximately 250 girls from being sold into a life of slavery each year. The cost of a single shelter is $25,000 meaning that we have the ability to save a life for $100! Not only does $100 save a life and provide a safe home, the transit homes are also engaged in counseling, facilitating medical check-ups to determine health status, motivating survivors to identify traffickers, and building networks and pressure groups.

Transit homes are located at major Nepal India border towns through which many of the children and women are trafficked into India. These border towns are potential points where a little vigilance can have significant payoffs.

Objectives of transit home:

1. To work with police and concerned agencies to intercept potential victims, and apprehend traffickers.

2. To provide a safe transit shelter home for short stays for intercepted and released women and children.

3. To ensure safe passage to their respective villages.

4. To provide information on safe migration.

Transit homes serve as a safe shelter to survivors rescued from India and also to those who have been intercepted at borders while in the process of being trafficked. As per standard operating procedures the girls stay in the transit home for some time and then move to Maiti Nepal`s other establishments for further assistance.

–Laura Agustín, the Naked Anthropologist

7 thoughts on “Becoming Miss America by rescuing trafficking victims on the India-Nepal border?

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  3. asehpe

    After having seen the documentary Könskriget, by Evin Rubar, I really became concerned with “protectionist” and “shelter” initiatives by rescue groups. If even in Sweden, where things are supposed to be much better than elsewhere, a group like ROKS could get away with such blatantly biased rhetorics, what is the hope for actual dialogue and understanding in matters such as trafficking, prostitution and sex work, rape, or even equality in general?

    Since you live in Sweden, Ms Augustín, I was curious about your personal opinion. I don’t know much about the situation with respect to these controversial radical feminist topics, and how entrenched they really are in government policies. Is Ms Rubar’s documentary exaggerated? Is there real debate in Sweden, or has the worst-case scenario become as widely accepted as Ms Rubar suggests? What are the chances of changing the Swedish government’s policies in this area (e.g., the so-called “Swedish model” for combatting prostitution)? (You have probably already blogged, or elsewhere written, about this topic; I am simply curious about the real current situation in Sweden and its trends and dynamics, and I would be happy with a link to an article and/or bibliography discussing the topic. Also from a historical perspective: how did radical feminism, rather than other currents in the movement, achieve such success in Sweden? Is this a result of their association with the Social Democrats?)

    Thanks in advance.

  4. Laura Agustín

    the question ‘how did it get that way in sweden’ is one that it will take not only me, but swedes themselves, a long time to figure out. i have been here a couple of years and have a few insights – you could click on the sweden tag in the cloud to the right and see what i have published in and about some issues. these are tentative ideas, not definitive.

    the film you point to was made before i got here, i haven’t seen it yet so cannot comment. figuring out new countries is a long process.

    best, laura

  5. Asehpe

    I will have a look, Ms Augustín. I thought you had lived there longer than two years; sorry about that. (The documentary I mentioned is linked in my first message; you can clink on the blue link and you will see it in Sweden. A version with English subtitles is also available (though you have to click on one of the tabs under the video screen to see the subtitles; they are not part of the movie itself).

    Out of curiosity, do you see the dialogue in Sweden going away from, or towards, these radical feminist ideas? In the specific case of prostitution, do you see any signs that the current policy (the ‘Swedish model’) will become impopular and maybe be reversed, or does it seem stable?

  6. laura agustin Post author

    i understand the swedish, the issue is that there are large quantities of cultural and political evidence one can look at in the quest to understand a history. your contribution will go into the pile.

    my style is not to make emphatic pronouncements, particularly when i know the issues are super complex. little by little you will hear more, if you have patience!


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