How Transit Monitoring Works
How Transit Monitoring Works
Currently we do Border and Transit Monitoring at around thirty different locations in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. The centerpiece of this strategy is what we call a Border Monitoring Station (or Transit Monitoring Station, depending on whether it is on the border).
Each station is located near an important border crossing or transit hub where trafficking may be occurring, and is overseen by a subcommittee of local Christians, who manage between two and ten staff called Border (or Transit) Guards. These staff stand in public areas like border crossings and train or bus stations, and watch for signs of trafficking. When they see these signs, they will show an identity card and question the suspected victim and trafficker.
In most cases, they are sent on their way within a few minutes. But when our staff receive certain "red flags" they will proceed with questioning, following a Questioning Protocol and separating the party. If they receive a significant number of red flags, staff will bring the group to a nearby booth and continue questioning. They may call the the parents (if the victim is a child), or the place where the victim is going (to verify that it is a real place, for instance). If they conclude that the victim really is being trafficked, they will "intercept" the victim and prevent her* from further travel.
Although we don't have the legal authority to prevent a woman or child from travelling, there are three ways that we can: (1) often after we call the parents (when the victim is a child), they insist that we don't allow her to go (which, assuming she is a minor, they have the authority to do), (2) we can involve the police, who have the legal authority to stop the victim, and (3) we may convince the victim that she is being trafficked so that she decides not to go on.
After a woman or child is intercepted, she will typically stay in a local shelter operated by our station while her family members come to get her. During this time, we will educate her about the dangers of trafficking, and conduct a victim interview, which will help us gain a better understanding of how she was trafficked. This information will help us form a clearer picture of trafficking and trafficking networks, in order to improve our work and identify targets to investigate in order to help the police bring justice against traffickers.
Although there are many societal obstacles to doing so, from threats and bribes from traffickers, to the societal tendency to blame the victim which makes victims and their families reluctant to file cases, we try to prosecute traffickers whenever possible after intercepting a woman or child. Click on these links to learn more about the Data Collection and Analysis, Prosecutions, and Intelligence-Led Investigations that form crucial parts of our anti-trafficking strategy.
Over the last 5 years, at all our Border and Transit Monitoring stations, we have intercepted an average of 125 women and children per month and prevented them from being trafficked.
SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH VICTIMS
At Tiny Hands, our mission is "to proclaim the love of Jesus Christ by fighting the world's greatest injustices." We believe that a significant part of "the gospel" is love-in-action, which is never idle in the face of people's sufferings. It is for this, and in obedience to Christ, that we scour the world for "the least of these" that Jesus asks us to help. Naturally we want to tell people about the wonderful God whose message has lead us to help them. For this reason, one of the most important things we do when we intercept a woman or child is share the gospel with her. Obviously none of the services we offer to anyone are ever contingent on people's response to this. We offer unconditional love-in-action to those in need, as part of the message; for the rest we use words! Most of the women and children we intercept have never heard the gospel, and many come to believe in Jesus during their short stay in the shelter.*
*According to a data set of 297 Victim Interviews from April, 2014 to February, 2015:
- 5% of intercepted women and children were already Christian
- 35% had never even heard the name of Jesus
- 45% had heard the name of Jesus but not the gospel
Of these, 39% who were not Christians before reported that they now "believed in Jesus," and 14% already had plans to start attending church.