Preventing exploitation through ethical business is the mission statement of Five14, a group of social businesses all working together for the same goal. In Nepal they have a bed & breakfast, adventure company and café. Five14 was started six years ago with the purpose of preventing human trafficking in Nepal. Mick and Mary Haegeland, founders of Five14, saw the need for more prevention work and decided to take action.
Nepal is one of the most sourced countries for human trafficking in Asia. There are many reasons as to why this is, but one of the main ones is lack of economic income. Five14 tries to help build businesses in the remote villages of Nepal so that people are able to support themselves and their families financially. Jenny Blumenburg, Five14’s Group Coordinator, remarked, “Giving people in vulnerable situations the opportunity to make an income that stabilizes their family gives them hope and dignifies their work and lives so that they don’t feel trapped into making the decision to sell their daughters.” “It’s amazing, just the smallest amount of income and they’ll stop selling their girls,” Mick Haegeland stated.
When Five14 started, they researched which villages had the largest problem with human trafficking and chose to make those places their focus. These villages had no tourists coming through and little ways of making outside income. Five14 made trekking trails to these villages and now take many teams there throughout the year. “We take tourists to some of the most vulnerable villages in Nepal and largest sources for human trafficking through beautifully developed trekking trails, off the beaten path, to enjoy this country and make a difference at the same time. We call it an ‘Adventure with a Purpose,’” said Xiwan Rana, Director of Five14 Adventures and Chairman of Five14 Foundation. The teams they bring through provide income for the villages by staying there, buying food and souvenirs, and just being in the area. Having trekkers come through creates jobs for hiking guides, trail builders, and everything else involved with trekking. Now, Five14 is not the only company bringing tourists through these areas. One of the villages that they started in has now declared their village a no trafficking zone. Mary Haegeland said, “With a minimal amount of effort, we can change a person’s future, that’s incredible.”
A lot of the teams that come through Five14 also want to do some sort of project to help the local people. Most of these projects are micro-enterprise projects, not aid. They are to help further the business industries in the village, developing other avenues of business or job opportunities. Five14 takes people with all different skill sets who want to give back to Nepal and puts those skills to work.
Anyone can come and have a vacation in Nepal with Five14. All of the business they do helps to prevent exploitation. There are options for every type of person, whether it’s tough hiking in the Himalayas, riding in an air-conditioned jeep looking at elephants in the jungle, or temple tours right in the heart Kathmandu. Whatever your adventure level is, Five14 can provide the whole experience from airport pickup to airport drop-off. “You can come as a individual, we have set trips, but you can also grab a group of friends and say, ‘Let’s go trekking in Nepal’, and by doing that you’re preventing exploitation,” Mary Haegeland explained. “Decades after you have come and gone, a person’s life is different, their future has been created differently.” To learn more about all of the adventures available through Five14 or to start planning your next vacation, check out http://www.five14nepal.com/.