MS.ANURADHA KOIRALA (MAITI NEPAL) - INTERNATIONAL AWARDEE
Human trafficking, the euphemism for modern day slavery, continues today to a heinous crime that nary raises the heckles of society anymore – a forgotten parallel world we’d rather not acknowledge!!
In underdeveloped countries, women seem to be expendable with their lot less behoven than a commodity. Girls born into poor families and are sold off to brothels or recruited by older prostitutes to earn a better income or life. Efforts for preventing adolescent girls from being smuggled to brothels across the border to India began with Anuradha Koirala’s determination to stand against sex trafficking of girls more than 20 years ago. Her resolve to help women and children, many of whom have no representation in society, has driven her to a lifelong mission of opposing what is considered a social norm in Nepal’s society. Born on the 14th of April 1949, her family instilled in her the belief that helping those less fortunate was pious work which became an inspiration as well as motivation for her as a young woman. Anuradha attended Saint Joseph Convent School in Kalimpong, India where the nuns were her motivators to pursue her aspirations of social work with the iconic Mother Teresa serving as her spiritual support for her interest and passion for social work. Koirala’s first attempts to rescue girls taken away to be sold to brothels began in 1993. With her meagre resources she founded Maiti Nepal which soon became a safe haven and a home for victimized women and children who have been raped and contracted STD’s such as HIV/AIDS to the extent of using her own money to provide medical treatment to those infected. Besides rescue, Koirala has provided psychological care to the victims and even gone the extra mile to educate households on the evils and terrors of human trafficking. Anuradha and her organization have established rescue centres at the border which has had a huge impact on the trade. Today Maiti Nepal has 3 prevention homes, 2 hospices, 9 transit homes and a high school operated by the organization that serve to spread awareness, conduct rescue operations, apprehend traffickers and educate and provide therapy to the victims. Through her commitment against human trafficking, she has been felicitated by 30 national and international awards which include the 2010 CNN Hero award in recognition for her passion of human rights for both women and children. Through the outstanding and tireless efforts of Anuradha Koirala, for whom the iconic Mother Teresa served as her spiritual support for her interest and passion for social work, more people worldwide are now aware of human trafficking as not only an inhumane act, but as a heinous violation of human rights.