Human trafficking: a social violence

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Human trafficking and subsequent prostitution- the world's oldest profession- is on the rise in southern belt of the country. In Butwal and its adjoining areas, the restaurants have become a common place for sex trade in recent times. The people from the district and across the border have been thronging to the cabin restaurants to have sex with waitress in the pretext of having food. What is most disheartening is that the tender aged girls from the remote VDCs of the district are actively involved in the world's oldest profession. Many girls from the remote VDCs of the district comes to cities in search of green pasture and better opportunities. Soon, owing to hardship in finding appropriate means to meet their ends, they end up languishing in cabin restaurants as sex workers.

According to recent report published by Sanharika Samuha, the organization to working to combat women trafficking, there are as many as 5000 girl aged between 12-15 working in cabin restaurant as sex worker in the capital alone. The same report also highlights poverty, illiteracy and ignorance as major cause behind the growing cases of sex worker in the urban areas. It laments the ineffective implementation of the laudable initiative aimed at curtailing the girl trafficking and their subsequent rehabilitation.

Over the years, there has been significant rise on the cases of human trafficking across the country. It is estimated that over 15000 Nepalese girls are involved as sex worker in Middle East and other Asian countries. Great majority of them are engaged into prostitution owing to poverty and illiteracy. What is more interesting is that the large number of girls who have been trafficked to different countries hails from districts such as Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Rasuwa and Sindhuli.

Pooja Tamang (name changed), a local resident of Kavre, was trafficked to brothel based in Mumbai when she was just 18 years old. In the pretext of offering a lucrative job in India, she was trafficked by her neighbor in association with a racket involved in human trafficking. Now, she is back to her district with the support from the Maiti Nepal- organization working in anti trafficking. During an interaction with this scribe, she recounted how she was tortured and forced to have sex with the customers for multiple times in a single day. She lamented that poverty and illiteracy was the major reason for languishing in what she calls a hell that ruined her life. In Mumbai alone, there are innumerable girls from several districts of Nepal involved in the prostitution, she further added.

Likewise, Roshni Lama (Name changed) from the same district was sold to Indian based brothel by her husband three years ago. She was pursuing her higher secondary level education when she was forcefully married to a local by her parents. However, three years after marriage, the husband sold her to the agent who was running a human trafficking racket in various parts of India. During her initial days in brothel, she was not given adequate food and tortured for not adhering to the demands of the customer. As there was no other option, she succumbs to their demands. She also said that she was forced to have sex with the people for number of times in a single day. Three years after spending a life as a prostitute, she was finally rescued by the Maiti Nepal with the support of the local police.

Both cases indicate that poverty and illiteracy are the major cause behind the growing cases of human trafficking across the country. The situation therefore calls for improvement literacy rate of girls to combat the human trafficking which has taken a heavy toll. It also demands the initiation of the programs targeting to ameliorate the situation of poor in terms of socio and economic aspects. 

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