The Paralegal program was the original goal since SASANE formed in 2008. Despite the high number of girls trafficked from Nepal, only about 10% of all survivors filed complaints against traffickers. Those who did file complaints frequently found themselves up against bureaucratic and cultural hurdles. Frequently, survivors were unable to receive immediate justice, as the legal system in Nepal placed higher importance on other legal matters. In addition, fear of stigma, threats from traffickers, and lack of knowledge regarding the Nepali legal system kept survivor from filing formal complaints.
SASANE founding members believed they could support and empower women human trafficking survivors in Nepal by training survivors to become certified paralegals. As paralegals, survivors can provide access to justice, free of charge, to other women survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence in different police stations of Nepal. SASANE paralegals employ a grassroots approach to empowering women survivors through education and tackling the systemic issues in Nepal’s legal system from the front lines. SASANE’s paralegals are re-integrated into society not only with education and job skills, but as women leaders who understand their legal rights. This program is helping to change not only each paralegal’s life, but the lives of the many women they assist every day.
SASANE has provided its paralegal training for over 249 women and 90% have passed the district court exam as certified paralegals. Since SASANE’s commencement, the paralegals have assisted the police in filing 4594 complaints and First Information Reports (F.I.R.’s) regarding women, and 1232 complaints and F.I.R.’s concerning children. The major paralegal activities include psycho social counseling, legal counseling (filing complaints and F.I.R.’s), data collection and legal assistance throughout court proceedings. SASANE has provided legal services in 415 court cases, and rescued over 238 women and girls from exploitative situations and abuse in 2016-17 alone.