Prosecuting Human Traffickers by Mobilizing Human Rights Defenders as Victims’ Advocates


Freed from brick kilns, organ transplant clinics, and brothels, survivors of human trafficking are re-victimized by a “justice” system in Nepal that has been entrenched for decades in legitimized prejudice against the marginalized. As a consequence, former victims of human trafficking find it nearly impossible to navigate through Nepal’s opaque judicial system to a successful prosecution of their traffickers. To turn around the laughable conviction rate, the justice system needs articulate and courageous witnesses for the prosecution. This Article proposes a framework to meet this goal.

An under-utilized cadre of foot soldiers—working to expose human rights violations, known as “Human Rights Defenders” (HRDs)—should be mobilized as court advocates in every district of Nepal, to advise victims from police intake through sentencing. Strategically placed and trained, HRDs would provide a cost effective oversight in a legal system that cries out for accountability and change, as well as serve as the eyes of the international community.


Nepal, Human Trafficking, Human Rights, Human Rights Defenders



Naomi Jiyoung Bang (South Texas College of Law)



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