Nepalgunj Station - Nepal
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every country and person on the earth, and we at Love Justice are no different. With most of the countries where we work under lockdown for the majority of the third quarter and in some cases for the foreseeable future, it was important that we ensured that the most valuable assets of the organization—our frontline staff—did not join the thousands throughout the world who have lost their jobs because of the pandemic, shutdowns, and resulting economic meltdown.
The impact that these country-wide lockdowns were having on the poorest of the poor quickly became one of today’s greatest injustices because daily wage earners were not able to make the money they needed to live. This caused LJI to pivot and provide relief through food distributions to individuals who were in desperate need of provisions. Our frontline staff played a crucial role in identifying individuals for distributions and facilitating the delivery of aid to the poorest of the poor. Staff also spent a significant amount of time conducting post-intercept follow-up calls to potential victims who were intercepted by LJI as well as sample-polling calls where staff gathered data that we believe will play an invaluable role in our attempt to measure human trafficking prevalence.
To date, LJI’s distributions of around 3–4 weeks of food have been approved for just under 90,000 people who needed it desperately—at a cost of under $4 per individual reached. Instead of interception stats, this quarterly report will include the number of station staff employed during the pandemic, distribution stories, as well as station-specific impact metrics including the total number of distributions, number of families and individuals helped, number of sample-polling calls made, and the number of post-intercept follow-up calls completed.
We believe that the economic fallout from this pandemic will increase people’s desperation to provide for themselves and their families. As a result, we are preparing for an upsurge in human trafficking around the world. In the coming months and until the lockdown is fully lifted, our monitoring staff will be doing the following activities:
1) Modified transit/border monitoring: The main borders are not fully opened yet, but there is a possibility of traffickers using shortcut routes to take victims across the border. Therefore, our staff has decided to monitor those areas, using a modified approach.
2) Awareness: Our staff members are visiting local families, shopkeepers, travel agents, etc., to spread awareness about human trafficking and to collect any possible information on trafficking.
3) Volunteer work: Our staff in several stations have been volunteering with local police, government agencies, and other stakeholders for various programs like providing counseling in the local police station to victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape; initiating cleanliness campaigns in their municipalities; launching blood donation programs, etc.
4) Surveys with migrant workers at the border: There is a possibility that Nepali migrant workers who are returning home from India might have been trafficked themselves or know about incidents of trafficking near their workplace or neighborhood. Our staff members have been talking to these individuals and are trying to collect any useful information from them.