Sunday, 2 September 2012

Girls trafficking from Tamang community in Nepal: WHY and HOW?

Though I belong to Tamang community I am from the eastern part of Nepal, Sunsari district Dharan Municipality and had grown up in a mix society of different castes/ethnicities. Therefore, I never ever felt that I belong to Tamang community since I don't speak Tamang language nor do I have good knowledge about Tamang's culture. In my family only my mother can speaks Tamang language but my father and my four siblings don't understand and speak Tamang language. First time in my life in 1996 after joining an NGO, Women's Rehabilitation Centre (WOREC) I heard that many girls from Tamang community have been trafficked for sex trade by their own fathers and brothers and taken them to sell in brothels in India. I was amazed and couldn't even imagine how anyone can do such things to their own daughters and sisters.

My developmental sector career started from WOREC in 1996. By joining this organisation I got the opportunity to work with trafficked girls returned from Indian brothels. First time in Nepal, NGO sector challenged government of Nepal by bringing trafficked girls from Indian brothels. Of the five NGOs namely, Maiti Nepal, ABC Nepal, Shanti Nepal and Navajyoti Kendra including WOREC, out of 121 returnees WOREC received 11 girls initially to facilitate them in the rehabilitation and reintegration to their families and societies. After a month eight more girls were received, which means total 19 girls were accommodated by WOREC and I was the one who was responsible to look after them since I've been assigned as a Rehabilitation Incharge and Warden of the Centre. Of the many girls returned India were from castes/ethnicities but came to know from them that mainly Tamang girls are the one trafficked to India and also brothel owners are also mainly Tamang women. I was amazed hearing this from them. I always wonder WHY Tamang family residing surroundings to Kathmandu, capital city of Nepal are doing so.

Reading news, articles, documents and hearing such news from media and also from those returnees came to know that in Nepal, Tamang community is the number one in supplying and selling their daughters to India [1, 2]. It is interesting to know from the history that in the late 17th century, the brothel area of Kamathipura was first established to service British troops in what was then called Bombay, India [1, 2]. Moreover, adjoining districts to Kathmandu namely, Sindhuplachowk, Kavre, Nuwakot, Dhading and Makwanpur where Tamang community are densely reside girls have been trafficking since ancient times. It is really annoying to read that "Sex sells and girls from villages like Ichowk, Mahankal and Talmarang in the Sindhupalchowk district in northern central Nepal are full of girls who are more than anxious for a better life."  Moreover, Tamang girls have been victims of trafficking for generations. This is not just because of the ignorance, illiteracy but due to political reasons and grand designed plan of former rulers, Ranas and Shahs rather. Everyone says it is because of the poverty and lack of education but I do not agree with this because there are many communities such as dalit (untouchables), Tharu, Chepang including other castes/ethnicities who are relatively marginalised and poor compared to Tamang but their daughters and girls are not  trafficked and sell for sexual affair.

Exploring historical background of Nepal I came to realised that Tamang ethnic group being largest and surrounding to the Kathmandu valley was always threat to Nepal's rulers that's the reason they had been strategically marginalised since 18th century formulating state law categorising them as an Enslaveable Alcohol Drinker in hierarchical classification they fall under 3rd group of caste/ ethnicity. Men from Tamang ethnic were not allow to join any security forces such as Army and Police. They were used as a porter "Pipa" of rulers and of the Kathmandu valley and their girls and daughters had been used for sex trade both within and outside Nepal to GENOCIDE them. In the Royal Palace Tamang girls were used as a sex slave, concubine and also some of them sold toe. Therefore, girls trafficking in Tamang community is a political issue that has been started from Sindhupalchok, a home district of  an influential politician of Nepal during the regime of kingship, currently chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP = National Democratic Party)Pashupati Shamsher Jang Bahadur Rana. He had hold important positions in the representative system of Panchayat devised by King Mahendra, in particular he was Minister of State for ' Education (1977-78) with the addition of Transport and Tourism (1978-79), Minister for Water Resources (1983-84) with Communications (1984-86), Minister for Panchayat and local Development (1986- 88). After the end of the panchayat, he was Minister for Foreign Affairs, for Finance, Water Resources and Communications (1990-1994) and Minister for Water Resources (1995-97 and 1997-98). Pashupati SJB Rana has been continuously represented in Parliament from 1973 to 2006. He could be one of the main hidden Mafia in promoting the industry in the trafficking of Nepali girls, especially Tamang is a very lucrative business. It can include forced labor, domestic and factory work [2]. Young girls who are teenagers are often used in the sex-trafficking industries, though, because of the extreme profit for traffickers and the very low incidence of law enforcement arrests against sex-industry racketeers.
India to fulfil sexual pleasure and satisfaction of  the British troops of East India Company that was started in 19th century during Rana Regim

It is disgusting to read following evidences about girls trafficking in Nepal.

"The trafficking of girls from Nepal into India for forced prostitution is perhaps one of the busiest slave trafficking routes anywhere in the world, with estimated 5,000-10,000 Nepali women and girls trafficked to India each year.[6][8] An estimated 100,000-200,000 Nepali trafficked persons are in India.[9] Nepali girls are especially desirable as prostitutes in India because they are considered more attractive due to their lighter skin color, and because Nepali virgins are believed to be able to cure AIDS.[10]" [3]

-Nepal and Bangladesh are the main source countries in south Asia for trafficked children. (Masako Iijima, "S. Asia urged to unite against child prostitution," Reuters, 19 June 1998)

- The trafficking of girls from Nepal into India for the purpose of prostitution is probably the busiest 'slave traffic' of its kind anywhere in the world. (Tim McGirk, "Nepal's Lost Daughters, 'India's soiled goods," Nepal/India: News, 27 January 1997)

- In Nepal, trafficking has become a highly profitable business, with high profile political connections. Nepali, Bangaldeshi and Pakistani women are trafficked to India, and through India they are trafficked to Eastern Europe and Saudi Arabia. (Interview with Meena Oudel, Programme Coordinator of Oxfam Nepal, 18 March 1998)

- More than 9,000 girls are trafficked each year from Nepal and Bangladesh into bondage in India and Pakistan, often with the acquiescence or cooperation of state officials. (http://www.amnesty.org.uk/news/press/releases/22_april_1998-0.shtml, 22 April 1998)

- Every year around 10,000 Nepalese girls, most between the age of nine and 16, are sold to brothels in India. (Tim McGirk, "Nepal's Lost Daughters, India's soiled goods," Nepal/India:News, 27 January 1997)

- 7,000 Nepalese women and girls are trafficked for prostitution to the Asia Pacific area. (Statement of the CATW - Asia Pacific and Philippine Women's Groups, 4th International Congress on AIDS in the Asia Pacific, 29 October 1997)

- 5,000 Nepalese women are trafficked into India yearly. There are now 100,000 Nepalese women in India in prostitution. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)
More than 200,000 Nepalese girls are involved in the Indian sex trade. (Tim McGirk "Nepal's Lost Daughters, 'India's soiled goods," Nepal/India News, 27 January 1997)

- Nepalese women who are trafficked and prostituted in debt bondage in India's sex industry are forced to work longer hours and have more clients than local women. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

- Hong Kong is the second biggest market for trafficked Nepalese women. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)



Reference
1. Awish Bohora "Challenging the Humanity: Girl Trafficking in Nepal" accessed from http://www.amplifyyourvoice.org/u/Awishbohora/2012/3/15/Challenging-the-Humanity-Girl-Trafficking-in-Nepal 

2. "Lost Daughters – An ongoing tragedy in Nepal" accessed from http://womennewsnetwork.net/2008/12/05/lostdaughternepal808/

3. "Human Trafficking in Nepal" accessed from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_Nepal






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