Hundreds Nepalese women sex-trafficked, mostly to Gulf

The main reason behind trafficking of girls into brothels is gender disparity which prevents them from receiving proper education and employment opportunities, said Anuradha Koirala, chairperson of Matiti Nepal, a non-governmental organization working for rehabilitation of commercial sex workers in the country.

Koirala, who is also the CNN Hero of the Year 2010, said in the name of foreign employment, most of them are taken to Gulf countries unlike earlier when Nepalese women were sold to Indian brothels.

Speaking at a function organized by International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) marking 100th years of International Women’s Day here, she cited lack of education, extreme poverty, acute unemployment, armed conflict, political protection and open border with India as the main reasons behind rise in trafficking cases.

According to Maiti Nepal, out of over 50,000 women working in dance bars, cabin restaurants and massage parlours here, most are being sexually exploited. 30 percent of these girls are aged between 11 and 16.

Internal trafficking has also become a big problem, specially when the traffickers are getting political protection, the NGO's director Bishwo Ram Khadka said.

The NGO rescues around 2,000 women and girls, who were sex-trafficked to foreign countries and some 12,000 women were rescued in the last ten years period. Over 600 people convicted for trafficking women were imprisoned over the past decade, Khadka said.

Andreas Shield, director general of ICIMOD said that Climate Change has greatly affected the production system and land use in the Himalayan region which has put additional burden to the women.

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