Desperate Girls

The Badi Girls

Between 7,000 and 12,000 young girls, aged 9-16, are trafficked each year from Nepal; mainly to India. According to Nepal Monitor/On line journal, 2007, there are more than 200,000 Nepali girls in Indian brothels.

The Dalits(untouchables) are the lowest level in Hindu society, and the Badi community, in Western Nepal, are the lowest of the low. As a displaced hungry people group the Badi community has made sexual subservience a way of life. Young girls from this group “serve” other groups. This has become a tradition and means of livelihood. Many girls, even when they are unwilling, are forced to serve as sex slaves. Family members knowingly sell their daughters to traffickers.

Though prostitution is illegal in Nepal, the industry reportedly has links with highly ranked officials and political leaders. Large groups of girls are taken across the border with many police and government officials being in collusion with traffickers and brothel owners.

Traffickers and related criminals are often protected by political parties, and if arrested, are freed using political power. As a result, there is an underlying distrust of police that has led people not to file cases against traffickers.

Domestic action involves activities of NGO’s and other volunteer groups. These groups are playing a major role to address girl-trafficking and sex slaves issues. Some NGO’s are playing a very important role to improve the situation. From creating social awareness to rescuing and rehabilitation, they are providing services (and relief) to those that need it the most – the likely victims as well as the rescued ones. The Lighthouse foundation is one of these.

*See Chandra Kala’s story on this blog site.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

First impressions of Kathmandu

We left the quietness of Transformation House this morning and wound our way through dogleg  streets that were surprisingly not too narrow for cars, pedal and motorised bikes, people and dogs all weaving around each other and only controlled by the regular beeping of car horns moving the obstacles out of their way. The contrasts are immense between rich and poor here with 3 and 4 story brightly coloured mansions right next door to small squats with corrugated steel roofs or rubbish covered blocks. A senses feast of sights, sounds and smells surround you everywhere you go. The Nepalese smile broadly when they are greeted with a 'namaste' and it surprises you to see no matter their circumstance they seem content with just a smile from you.
After a noisy tour of Bouddha street weaving back and forth in front of cars to visit different shops and then visiting the Buddhist Stupa - a weird, bright white Temple full of lost worshippers to a false God -so sad - the real highlight of the day was the visit to the Badi girls hostel at Tusal.
The girls were so affectionate I was blown away -it was a hugfest!! The whole time I was there I would constantly feel a small hand in mine or a an arm go around my waist. The language was a small barrier but some of the older girls could speak some English and we had a clumsy go at some Nepalese words too. No matter how these words came out the girls were smiling and laughing. They were so excited when I would say their name back to them and I showed them some photos on my camera of my class. 'Teacher' was a word they understood and they loved taking and looking at photos of themselves for a lot of the time we were there. Robyn had brought some photos that had been taken on a doll-making day for them to keep of themselves and they treasured them. There was a very quiet, stone faced little girl that Robyn said had come in with calloused hands like a tradesman -she was only about 5 or 6 she never smiled the whole time and seemed so sad. Liz and I were blown away by the loving reception we had been given and it was hard to leave -we will be seeing some of them again to day at a huge Easter service where they will be singing. I am looking forward to hearing their beautiful voices.

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