Tiny Hands International (THI) is a Christian NGO in Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and South Africa, that does anti-trafficking work and care for abandoned or orphaned children. We are excited to work alongside The JAM Network and are encouraged by their initiative to bridge together such a variety of actors working to end human trafficking.
THI fights human trafficking by transit monitoring— monitoring public transit locations by placing trained staff in strategic locations where trafficking is likely to occur (border crossings, train stations, etc.) and intercepting suspected victims and traffickers with the assistance of local law enforcement. Last April, THI made its 10,000th victim intercept since the organization began operating.
Transit monitoring is innovative in that it focuses on stopping trafficking as it is in the process of occurring. Thus, THI intervenes in a trafficking scenario prior to a person’s exploitation, meaning that THI is provided with a rare opportunity of both intercepting victims and targeting traffickers in order to investigate and uncover trafficking networks. Through my personal experience working with THI, I have experienced a greater value for the meaning of freedom, in that freedom is not merely physical, but also has an emotion and spiritual element.
By valuing the specific cultural contexts, THI’s long-term investment in the areas they work in not only honours the communities, but also helps to positively change culture and mindsets toward issues of justice, such as human trafficking. I have watched THI transform lives by restoring dignity into the lives of victims, so that the victims can confidently return home (where appropriate) with contagious hope and joy and have a lasting influence in their communities. It’s a joy to be able to celebrate this work on the 25th of February with The JAM Network and we are very grateful of how each person connected with JAM has relentlessly pursued justice.
Mahlea Babjak works for Tiny Hands International. Originally from Chicago, she studied International Relations and Social Anthropology at St. Andrew's. Mahlea is currently pursuing a PhD at the Centre for South Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh and has researched on areas surrounding human trafficking and exploitation.