Video, Photos and Article By Erin Valentine
Not many people can say that they have been an integral part in finding the families of 470 trafficked children.
Conor Grennan, founder of Next Generation Nepal, spoke in the Alumni Gym at Elon University today about his book, “Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Childhood of Nepal,” and his quest to find children taken by human traffickers.
Grennan discussed the path, at one point literally, that led him to finding lost children and reuniting them with family, and the many obstacles, including goats, that he had to overcome. His book, which happened to be the common reading for this school year, recounts the journeys he went through to reunite children with their parents.
Volunteering at an orphanage in Nepal, Grennan first realized the harsh reality of human trafficking, especially of childen, in Nepal. During his time at the orphanage, Grennan befriend seven children in a shack near the orphanage. However, after Grennan had returned to New York, the children were sold to traffickers.
“I had to really be honest with myself about what was happening,” Grennan said. “Nobody was going after those kids. Nobody was going to try to find those kids. I asked people, I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to go back to Nepal.”
After deciding to go back to Nepal to search for the lost children, Grennan met a major barrier of how he was actually going to go about finding the kids.
“I didn’t know how to look,” Grennan said.
So, Grennan started just looking on foot. By pure chance, he happened to find one of the children he was searching for walking on the same path as him.
“I saw her and I kind of went up to her,” said Grennan. “I was like, ‘Remember me?’ And she was like, ‘Yes, I remember you.'”
Grennan went on to find all of the seven of the children who had been sold. He found one boy in a coma, the girl on path he found was being held by a trafficker’s wife, and one boy took him ten months to find.
He then decided that he had to travel to find the parents of the children. Grennan knew that he had to find a way to get these kids home.
“One hundred percent of the little kids were desperate to go home. And you just saw these scenes over and over again of these kids being reunited with their families,” said Grennan.