Foreign Correspondent: Paper Orphans (3 March 8pm)


Watch ABCs Foreign Correspondent on March 3 at 8pm.

Learn about orphanage trafficking.

Know you can be part of the solution.

“The cold hard facts are there aren’t enough ‘orphans’ to volunteer with.  So, the orphans are being invented.”  (Kate van Doore, Forget Me Not)

Every year thousands of Australians donate money or volunteer in developing countries such as Nepal, helping to house and educate orphans.

But are we really doing good?

Foreign Correspondent travels to Nepal to uncover an ugly truth: most of the children living in the more than 500 orphanages across the country are not orphans. Many are the victims of traffickers, who prey on poor families in remote areas desperate to give their children an education in the city.

Westerners, including Australians, are driving this exploitative trade. Traffickers deliver the children to illegal orphanages where they’re used to attract foreign donors and volunteers.

Australian lawyer Kate van Doore found out the hard way. In 2006, she co-founded an orphanage in Kathmandu, taking in a group of girls from another institution. It was more than 5 years before she discovered that every one of them had living families.

Now Kate and her organisation are working with the Nepali government to stop the flow of foreign funds, to close illegal orphanages, and return the children home to their families. 

Reporter Sally Sara follows the journey of 10-year-old Devi and a group of trafficked children as they travel from Kathmandu to their villages in the Himalayas.

It’s a moving, confronting and, ultimately, hopeful story.

‘I was worried, and I regretted sending her. I’m just so glad we have Devi back’. (Kalawati, Devi’s mother.)

Watch Paper Orphans on Foreign Correspondent on March 3, Tuesday night at 8pm on ABC and also on iview.