Police officers in Nepal sometimes respond with indifference to human trafficking cases, impeding slavery survivors’ access to justice.
That is beginning to change, thanks to the Free the Slaves front-line partner organization GMSP. It is working with local and district police officers to ensure Nepal’s justice system works to protect the vulnerable.
GMSP trained two groups of Nepali police officers about survivor-friendly approaches to human trafficking, slavery and gender-based violence. The two-day workshops in the Sindhupalchok district were well attended, with 35 officers participating.
An important theme of the training was helping police to better understand the personal situation in which survivors find themselves. Survivors often lack sufficient support systems and access to resources to protect and provide for themselves. They depend on law enforcement to assist them in seeking justice.
Many of the officers were struck by the severity of survivors’ experiences, and they expressed that they had not previously understood the urgency of survivor needs.
At the end of the training, officers agreed to prioritize trafficking and related cases. They also agreed to share what they learned with their peers, to promote more proactive law enforcement in these cases and better communication with survivors.
In the future, GMSP plans to collect feedback from survivors who interact with police officers in order to monitor whether there are changes in how survivor cases are handled.
Editor’s note: Learn more and watch videos of our work in Nepal on the Free the Slaves Nepal webpage.