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Friday 19 December  

South Asia Wired - The never ending battle against human trafficking in Nepal

On air: 16 February 2012 0:35 - 23 February 2012 23:35 (Photo by: Yamuhaton)

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Every year thousands of Nepali girls decide to leave home. Sometimes they run away without telling their family of their plans. Some of them are forced by their families to search for a job outside the village. But for about 7000 Nepali girls every year, this dream ends in deception. The job that seemed too-good-to-be-true turns out to be exactly that - too good to be true.

These girls are trafficked across the border to India to work in brothels or are sold into household slavery.  It's been called the busiest slave traffic in the world.

Rani was 15-years old when she started thinking of ways to escape her grim future. With a "drunkard" father, and a mother who was often sick, Rani found herself taking care of all household responsibilities and for the care of her siblings. “I have two brothers and a sister,” she says.  "As the oldest of the family I felt responsible for them".  So when a couple of men offered her a job in India, she believed them and went willingly.

Rani speaks English better than most Nepali girls her age, and when she recounts her story, she chooses her words carefully.  She's aware that even by talking about her ordeal she's breaking many taboos.  

Hear Rani's story on this week's South Asia Wired.


Listen here to South Asia Wired here: (or click here):


This story was originally published on 16 February 2012.


Fighting alone

Founder of Maiti Nepal, an organization that tries to intercept the girls before they cross the border, Anuradha Koirala emphasizes how intricate the scam of the traffickers is. “We move to one area and they just move to another once we have left. They’re playing a hide-and-seek game with us” Koirala says.

Koirala is one of the leading figures in the ongoing battle against girl trafficking in Nepal.

“After we got democracy in 1990 People talked a lot about the problem of trafficking, but it was focused on Kathmandu. I thought that we should start in rural areas instead of the capital.

Today 5000 to 7000 girls are trafficked every year in Nepal. Though this is still a very high number, it is getting better since NGO’s like Maiti Nepal got involved. Because as history shows, not much is to be expected of the Nepalese government.

During an extensive raid on Indian brothels in 1996, 148 Nepalese women were rescued. The government refused to bring the trafficked women back home. They feared the HIV infected women would spread the decease. It was because if the efforts of a group of NGO that the women were able to return home.

“It is not only the responsibility of Maiti Nepal to look after trafficking victims. It is also the government’s task, but they are not playing a role because of the political instability in Nepal” Says a disappointed Anuradha Koirala.

Shakti Samuha
In 1996, a group of women who were rescued from Indian brothels got together.  Determined to take their fate into their own hands, they founded Shakti Samuha. It is the first NGO in the country that is entirely run by trafficking survivors. 

Rani also works with Shakti Samuha - after she was rescued from her kidnappers, she found that though she'd missed being sold into prostitution, she couldn't go back to her old life.  The conservative Nepali society has no room for girls who are no longer a virgin, and infected with HIV.

But Shakti Samuha has given Rani back her confidence, “I cannot escape being a trafficking victim [but now] my job is to help people and that gives me confidence. My future is bright I think”



Adeel 13 July 2012 - 12:18pm / Pakistan

I was in Nepal in this march. I went 5 bars to know how the life is, It was my first time that i went to any dancing bar so i met a girl named "Nisa". She attracted me with his beautiful voice, figures and offers. So i just sat with her and started to talk with her in calm way. So i discovered that she is 22 years old and she is doing this job since 7 years so most of the girls are deceived in early age like 15/16 so i left the bar with this hope that i will come for her but i couldn't.

Pls. educate people and care them specially in adolescence.

Suraj Budhathoki 18 March 2012 - 2:42pm / Nepal

Human Trafficking has been on of the most serious problems of Nepal. It needs joint effort to overcome this social evil. I think in this era each and every citizen from the globe should step what they can from their side to demolish this. At the same time i would like to request to Radio Nederlands to raise issue of youth and peace of NEpal ................

Anonymous 16 March 2012 - 6:28am / Nep

All speaks about it cause and effect why we do not speak with solution. All we need awareness that who is driving them toward the dark future. A 605 people or 10 most active person inferaing in adminstrative issue. All we know its a simple solution we have wealth and able human resources . But they are useless in lawless area of nepal ( no school and hospital) . Every plan of national income are used for political benifits .like village people are unawre of change they demand less

Sanjaya Sharma 16 February 2012 - 3:30pm / Germany

This is not a hidden anymore that the poverty and lack of proper education is the main cause of Human trafficking in Nepal.
I said proper because the education we are getting is from nowhere a practical. This is why we are disappointed by, drivers in the roads,civil servants in Public admin., children in the home, every other people on the road.
In such difficult and chaotic circumstances human mind transforms into the Devil...and the out comes are Antisocial activities like; drugs and prostitution; the source of Human trafficking.

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