How a cafe in Nepal is rescuing women from prostitution and slavery

Photo source: Friends of Maiti Nepal
Photo source: Friends of Maiti Nepal

The Maiti Cafe is a coffee shop with a difference — and not just due to its altitude.

A popular joint in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu, Maiti Cafe employs around a dozen former human-trafficking victims, and helps get them back on their feet and integrate into society.

As of 2016, about 23,000 mostly rural women per year were trafficked in Nepal — for prostitution, agricultural work or other purposes.

Trafficking is widespread and crosses borders — in September, five girls from India were rescued from traffickers in Kathmandu by police working with Maiti Cafe.

Social attitudes and stigmas often prevent former victims from gainful employment and even their families may shun them.

Yet the anti-trafficking organizations A’fno Nepal, and the Dutch agency Free a Girl, have no such taboos.

Instead, work actively with Maiti Cafe to help trafficking victims find jobs — and gain invaluable skills as entrepreneurs.

Sources: Thomson Reuters Foundation, The Himalayan Times (Nepal), The Telegraph (U.K.)

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