Sex Trafficking Activist From Nepal Visits Rogue Valley

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, January 16 2012 at 7:35 PM, Updated: Mon, January 16 2012 at 7:37 PM

A woman, all the way from Nepal and leading the charge against what many are calling modern day slavery, arrived in the Rogue Valley on Monday

"Trafficking of human beings is the last violation of any human rights," said Anuradha Koirala, CNN's 2010 "Hero of the Year" and sex trafficking activist.

Sex trafficking -- it's something that's unseen and seems so foreign to many of us here in the valley. But according to Koirala, while it may not have happened to you, it is happening in our area.

"It is happening around the states and people just try to ignore it," said Koirala.

"They will only understand it when it happens to themselves," she continued.    

Koirala started Maiti Nepal in 1993. It's an organization that helps rescue women and children from sex trafficking, and other forms of exploitation.               

According to Koirala, children are transported from Nepal into Indian brothels and forced into prostitution.

"The ages of children when they are trafficked are 6-22. The average age is 16," said Koirala.

Koirala is scheduled to speak at Southern Oregon University Monday night at 7 in the Meese Auditorium on the SOU campus. She is trying to fund raise for her organization but also seeking to educate people about forced exploitation.

"People do not know about human trafficking that is why we have to intervene and tell the people this problem exists which is one of the most heinous crimes in the world," said Koirala.

Medford Police say while human trafficking is not widespread in our area, it's likely that victims stop in Medford when traveling up and down Interstate 5.

But Koirala says there is something you can do to help fight modern day slavery -- and that's simply to spread the word.

If you would like to know more about Anuradha Koirala and her organization Maiti Nepal, visit their website.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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