Free for Life’s partner, Peace Rehabilitation Center (PRC), was founded in 1994 by Shanta Sapkota. Shanta was the victim of an arranged child marriage in which she suffered physical and emotional abuse. After experiencing this tragedy, Shanta was compelled to provide care and assistance to underprivileged women and girls throughout Nepal. She has dedicated her life to the elimination of human trafficking and the protection of at-risk women and girls. Shanta continues as PRC’s leader, working every day to affect positive change for one of the most vulnerable populations in Nepal.
On a busy street in the congested downtown area of Kathmandu, Nepal, a red brick adorned complex stands out. Beyond the brick walls is a place that hundreds of Nepalese women and girls have once considered home. This complex is where Free for Life’s partner organization, PRC, provides shelter and services to former victims of human trafficking. Each building is surrounded by lush vegetable gardens that produce nearly all the nourishment required by staff and residents. A lone cow wanders the grounds, providing all the milk consumed by PRC occupants. A massive bowl-shaped structure on one of the building’s rooftops collects and stores drinkable water that is consumed in times of drought. PRC, and its facility, are a model of self-sustainability for both the staff and residents, providing virtually all basic needs.
Once trafficked women and girls are rescued at the border monitoring stations managed by PRC, at their rescue their situation is assessed. If their home environment is safe they may choose to reunite with their families and place of origin, but if that is not possible they can choose to stay at the shelter located in the Kathmandu complex. Those who choose the shelter have personal autonomy and are given living quarters that allow for personal freedom. The shelter is managed by a house mother, a former trafficking victim who has lived at the shelter for four years. She offers current residents expertise in victim care and assistance.
At the Kathmandu shelter, our partner, PRC, provides rehabilitative services for women and girls who have been rescued from traffickers and/or brothels in India. Counseling services are offered to victims to facilitate the restoration of both emotional and physical welfare. Medical care is provided for those who have suffered abuse, neglect or injuries at the hands of their captors. Literacy and educational programs are offered and designed to bolster mental capacity and self-sufficiency. All services are provided free of charge to the victims. Women and girls are able to stay at the PRC shelter as long as is needed to complete their rehabilitation and restoration.
The women and girls residing at the shelter also have the opportunity to participate in tailoring and jewelry-making classes throughout the year. Each girl who graduates from the tailoring course is presented with a scholarship that covers the purchase of a new sewing machine. Skills-training such as this grants financial stability, as well as a sustainable lifestyle, to former trafficking victims. Most importantly, a sustainable lifestyle offers security to these women and girls, security that breaks the cycle of re-victimization.
At the shelter, girls are expected to care for their surroundings. Because of this, they assist with cooking, cleaning, upkeep of the shelter, and maintenance of the vegetable gardens. Free for Life and PRC recognize the need for these girls to be shown love and compassion, while also respecting each girl’s independence and autonomy. This is the environment we strive to provide at our Kathmandu shelter.
In the dark world of human trafficking, Free for Life’s along side partner organization Peace Rehabilitation Center, is a guiding light toward freedom and sustainability for former victims. Since its inception, PRC has successfully combated human trafficking, and fought for the rights of trafficking victims and vulnerable populations. Together we remain committed to always continue in this fight.