We visited the first of seven border units this afternoon. It was established almost three years ago. While we did not cross into India, we could see the archway welcoming people into the country. Nepal and India share an open border, so citizens of these countries can pass between them at will without documentation; this makes it especially difficult to catch traffickers and the girls they are trafficking. Although the border units do not have the authority of law enforcement, the police are right next to the units and assist them when a trafficker is recognized.
The NGO we partner with focuses primarily on the aspects of prevention and protection concerning sex trafficking, and the police handle the prosecution process. Unfortunately, the traffickers often cross the border behind the girls they are trafficking to avoid suspicion, so while it is easy to identify a girl traveling alone and rescue her, catching her trafficker is much less common. For this reason, the women working at the border units stop almost every person crossing the border that is not a local.
The women working at the unit stand on the road and look for young girls traveling without a man; some of the women working at the units were themselves victims of sex trafficking, so they are especially skilled at recognizing other girls who are being trafficked. They then ask the girls why they are going to India and talk with them about sex trafficking. The two women at the border unit today told us that about two out of every ten girls they stop claim to be victims of trafficking and are rescued. We saw them talk with two girls traveling together this afternoon, but the girls said they were just going to India to shop and were not being trafficked.