Migration Narratives: The SHRAM Blog

Trafficking through the Himalayan kingdom

Nepal may be known for its natural beauty and Mount Everest, but there is a dark side to this small, picturesque country. Women and girls are being bought, sold and smuggled across the Nepal-India border.

Statistics vary on the number of Nepalese women who fall prey to traffickers, but social workers in the country estimate that about 200,000 girls and women are working in Indian brothels, with up to 7,000 more arriving every year, says Rekha Rana, co-ordinator of the combating girls’ trafficking project at the Family Planning Association of Nepal(FPAN). Others are trafficked into domestic servitude.

In a country where travelling abroad to find employment opportunities is far from unusual – more than 100,000 women are thought to go to India every year as non-trafficked migrant workers – it is unsurprising that women are duped, especially if those offering the supposed jobs are people they know.

Meanwhile,  as many as 7,000 women and girls are trafficked out of Nepal to India every year, and around 200,000 are now working in Indian brothels, according to UNICEF report (2012).

what makes the women fall prey is their trust. the procurers are none other than their relatives. The agents spend time persuading young women and girls with promises of marriage, a good life, work and money. Sometimes they actually marry the girls and take them to their destinations. it has turned into a lucrative business in Nepal, which is otherwise starved of jobs.

Geographically, trafficking is most prevalent in parts of Nepal that lag behind in terms of literacy, health, access to road transport, and other basic indicators, and where unemployment is high.

Most of these districts are on the 1,800km-long (1,118 miles) open border with India, which Nepalese citizens do not need travel documents or work visas to cross. Once over the border, they may be moved to other countries using forged passports as India is a well exploited transit route to the Gulf states and south-east Asia.

Aritra Chakrabarty

Aritra Chakrabarty

Anchor, SHRAM (Till Dec 31st, 2014)

As a social researcher, I believe in knowledge-based policy action. With a postgraduate degree in Development Studies, I've been associated with social issues in my professional space. As a part of SHRAMIC initiative, was involved with data creation, sourcing of resources that will become the knowledge bank of this project.
Aritra Chakrabarty

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