The difficult journey home

Sally Sara - Foreign Correspondent, ABC News

This article accompanies an episode of Foreign Correspondent from ABC News Australia entitled 'Paper Orphans.' It tells the story of Devi, a 10-year-old girl in Nepal "forced to pose as an orphan" who is being reunited with her family. "Her story reveals the harm being done by the good intentions of charitable Australians," says the article. The article describes how Devi and her family "are part of the complicated story of child trafficking in Nepal, where children are falsely portrayed as orphans to lure volunteers and donations from places like Australia."

According to the article, traffickers often recruit children to orphanages by targeting remote, poverty-stricken areas like Humla, where Devi and her family are from and promising families an education and better life for their children. "Some children are given false names, some are even issued with false death certificates for their parents. Others are too young to remember the real names of their family and community. They become vulnerable to exploitation, abuse and neglect."

Recognizing that most children in orphanages have living families, the government of Nepal is "trying to crack down on the trade," says the article. "The government has increased the sentences for child trafficking and set up a special police unit to raid illegal orphanages and rescue the children."

The article also explores the complexities of reintegration, highlighting the need for continued support for the child and family after the children return home.