Nepal has long been a country of origin for labor migration and trafficking in persons, particularly women and children, for the purposes of sexual, labor and other forms of exploitation. Trafficking often takes place as part of undocumented migration and is a serious violation of human rights.

In the aftermath of the April and May 2015 earthquakes, Nepal faces a heightened risk of human trafficking and unsafe migration. Some of the districts most affected by the earthquakes are historically known for high rates of trafficking of women and children and may thus face elevated levels of human trafficking. Many of these districts also have higher than average rates of female external migration, as well as ones where large numbers of men have left for employment elsewhere, leaving behind female-headed households at economic and social disadvantage with limited protection.

The Government of Nepal has made a commitment to combat human trafficking with a comprehensive approach that includes policy reform, enforcement and programs that meet the practical needs of women at risk and provides alternatives to unsafe migration. However, despite policies, plans and programs in place to counter trafficking and promote safe migration, there is a lack of synergy at the operational level.

Zonta International has committed US$1,000,000 to UN Women to create sustainable foundations for addressing the nexus between human trafficking and foreign labor migration of women and girls in Nepal.

How Zonta helps

The project will focus on both prevention of and response to trafficking.

Zonta International’s contribution of US$1 million will help:

  • Address structural barriers, gender-based discrimination and stereotypical intergenerational socialization patterns in homes and communities.
  • Strengthen individual competencies of women migrant workers and survivors of trafficking to become independent economic actors using vocational training and public private partnerships.
  • Enhance coherence/synergy between institutions and policies on the issues of foreign employment and human trafficking.
  • Enhance evidence base through mapping of underlying risk factors for women in the selected districts.
  • Engage in public awareness campaigns to challenge gender-based discriminations, mobilizing partners, young people, community leaders and transport sector personnel.
  • Leverage partnerships to strengthen information dissemination on reconstruction and livelihoods post-earthquakes.
  • Enhance technical skills, including financial literacy, of trafficking survivors and returnee women migrant workers for job placement and/or entrepreneurship development.
  • Review corporate social responsibility policies and practices of corporations and advocate for the Women’s Empowerment Principles to promote women’s economic empowerment.
  • Build pool of trainers to provide quality psychosocial counseling services in select districts.
  • Strengthen coherence in national policies on labor migration and anti-trafficking.
  • Strengthen understanding of relevant senior government officials on the convergence of the issues of foreign employment and human trafficking.
  • Enhance understanding of local authorities and camp coordinators in the earthquake-affected districts on the nexus of human trafficking and foreign employment.




Zonta International and UN Women create sustainable foundations and addresses human trafficking and labor migration in Nepal. Read about the progress made in the Future We Want project in the April 2017 update.

Read an update on the project Zonta is partnering with UN Women on in Nepal to learn about the progress that has been made so far and the next steps.