Tara is seventeen years old and lives with her parents and siblings in rural central Nepal. She attended school through the eighth grade until she had to drop out to help her parents at home. This March, she went to a fair in her village where she had the opportunity to perform in her favorite hobby, dance.

After her dance Barburam, a 37 year old man, approached her and congratulated her performance. They started talking and he gave her his phone number.

Over the next six days, he continued to talk with her. He said if she came across the border with him he could arrange for her to dance in music videos and earn 1,000 rupees for each song.

He promised to help pay for her travels and gave her a story to deceive her parents when she left. She decided to trust Barburam and followed his instructions to lie to her parents, telling them she was meeting up with friends, and instead left to find him in a large city. Once together, they took a rickshaw to cross the border.

As they crossed what used to be an unmanned rural border road, they were stopped by our border rescue agents. For a little over a week, our agents had a presence at this particular border crossing as part of our recent expansion along the Nepal border. Our agents, trained locals familiar with the area and people, felt suspicions about them. They stopped and separated Barburam and Tara to ask them some preliminary questions.

Similar interview takes place at a Nepal border crossing.

The interview was quickly flagged as a trafficking risk. Tara said they were brother and sister, but Barburam said something different. When our agents asked Tara to contact her family she claimed that she didn’t have her parent’s phone number. Easily seeing through the teenager’s lies, our agents found her mother’s number in Tara’s phone and gave her a call.

Her mother told our agents Tara had left home three days ago. She said she had no knowledge of her daughter’s plans to leave the country and gave our agents permission to keep Tara from continuing across the border with Barburam. She came into our transitional shelter where our staff cared for her until her family could arrive to bring her home.

Barburam was sent to the police station but Tara did not wish to file a case against him so he was released.

When Tara’s family arrived they were counseled on human trafficking and she was sent home with them. They will receive follow-up calls in the next few months from our staff.