Many people still missing in the aftermath of civil war in Nepal

Nepal, a tiny county between India and China (home to one half of Mount Everest), had a civil war the last decade. Probably not many Americans know about it; probably a significant minority have never even HEARD of Nepal. But it, like its neighbor country Bhutan, has fascinated me for a long time now and I’d love to visit (not to climb Everest, though).

Anyway, I found some articles addressing the missing person problem in Nepal. Loads of people disappeared during the civil war and many still have not been found. All the headlines say “hundreds” are missing but that doesn’t explain the opening paragraph of one article:

Almost five years after the end of the decade-long insurgency in Nepal in which almost 14,000 people were killed, the status of more than 13,000 other people who went missing during that period is still unknown.

Um, 13,000 is not “hundreds.” Someone needs to check their math. Or maybe they meant to say 1300, in which case they need to check their typing.

Articles:
Nepal: Families losing hope of meeting missing kin (Hindustan Times)
Hundreds still missing in Nepal after the end of its civil war in 2006 (World Tribune)
Five years after war, hundreds still missing in Nepal (Daiji World)

I know of a nonprofit organization, Next Generation Nepal, which works to reunite victims of human trafficking with their families. I read the founder’s memoir, Little Princes, and it was excellent. He was inspired to start the organization after he spent some time volunteering at a Nepalese orphanage and discovered that few, if any, of the children were actually orphans. They were in fact victims of trafficking and had families who were alive and trying to find them.

Heroes for missing children

This out of Pakistan: a barber who has made it his mission to reunite lost children with their families. Anwar Khokar says that since 1988 he’s helped 8,500 missing children. Missing children are a big problem in Pakistan — as they are, I suspect, in all third world countries. Kids run away or are thrown out by families who can’t afford to keep them. Child trafficking goes on. And the police often can’t help. If they’re not simply corrupt, they have a lot of other problems on their plate.

I recently read a book called The Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal. This American guy went to volunteer at an orphanage in Nepal for a few months and discovered that all of the “orphans” had in fact been stolen from their families by child traffickers. So he decided to reunite them, and journeyed to an extremely remote region of Nepal (without even road access) to find their parents. And he founded a non-profit for this purpose. It was dangerous work — the child traffickers were often well-connected and powerful, and there was the business of having to trek through the Himalayas — but the looks on the parents’ and kids’ faces made it all worth it for him.