Shakti Samuha is the first organization in Nepal to be established and run by survivors of trafficking. In 1996, 500 girls and women were rescued from slavery in Indian brothels during widespread police raids. Among these, 128 were Nepalese girls and women. These women were locked away in remand homes in India, where conditions were as bad as – if not worse – than prison. The Nepalese government was reluctant to bring the women back to Nepal, claiming they would bring HIV into the country with them. In the absence of Government support, several NGOs took the lead in returning and rehabilitating the girls. Sadly, even in these rehabilitation centers, the women’s treatment did not help to restore their self-esteem and basic human rights. It was only after months had passed and the women were given training in their rights, that they realized they were not to blame for being trafficked. The women felt it was time to claim their rights so they set up Shakti Samuha.
Shakti Samuha began in 1996 and was registered in the Kathmandu District Office of HMG in 2000. Since 1996 we have been organizing and empowering returning trafficking survivors by providing shelter, legal aid, vocational training and counseling. We have also set up Adolescent Girls Groups based in the poorest communities in order to pass on the message about the dangers of trafficking. Now we are reaching out to rural districts where trafficking is prevalent, helping to keep women safe and make a united stand against the traffickers.
Shakti Samuha’s main programs are on PREVENTION, PROTECTION (REPATRIATION, REHABILITATION AND REINTEGRATION), PROSECUTION, CAPACITY BUILDING and ADVOCACY & LOBY.
Shakti Samuha was started by few committed and enthusiastic girls and women in small office. With their hard work and struggles, it is now expanded to twenty one districts where 10 districts added after earthquake. Shakti Samuha believes that if the survivors are given opportunities, they are able to live independently and with dignity. Shakti Samuha has perception that the survivors should take their own leadership on their own issues. Shakti Samuha has own unique feature of providing membership to the survivors.
Till now, 168 members have got membership from the organization, who have right to lead the organization and discuss on the issues. 653trafficking survivors got the shelter support from Shakti Samuha till this date. Its main strategy is to organize the survivors in group and support them in group and help them to work as self help group. It is running 73 Adolescent group (1608 adolescence members), 20 trafficking survivor’s group (363 members) and 2 Network of women (22 members). Shakti Samuha is running four shelter homes (two shelters in Kathmandu, Women Rehabilitation Center in Sindhupalchowk and Emergency Shelter Home in Pokhara) for the trafficking survivors and the girls at the risk of abuse and street children.