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.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Friday 30th January. Fish sauce and Betel nut

Fish sauce and Betel nut

We have arrived safely in Yangon. We were exhausted when we arrived.  We had a full day on Tuesday, and then had to fly out at midnight.  Four and a half hours to K.L. with a four hour stop over and then two and half hours to Yangon.  We arrived about 1pm on Wednesday to the hotel.  With no sleep since Monday night, we were "had it".  It's moments like that when I think I am too old for this stuff.  But then we have a good night's sleep, and we are off again.  
Yangon's skyline is full of gold domes with spire tops.  The country is 80 percent Buddhist and temples abound.  We went out for a meal to a little "restaurant", I use the word loosely, called Mickey's.  We were greeted at the door by a skinny young man in tight jeans, a bird's nest wild hairdo, and a big smile.  It was his smile that was confronting.  His mouth and teeth were red. He had obviously been chewing betel nut, and I am sure he was slightly affected by it.  He had no English, and ordering was a challenge, especially in his slightly intoxicated state.  Trying to find out if the food was gluten free was hopeless.  I REALLY was asking The Lord to bless the food.  Adding to those interesting details, was the smell.  There was the enchanting mix of the aroma of fish sauce and the sewer.  I dearly wanted a photo of our waiter, but couldn't bring myself to ask him.  We have since found another place to eat.  
The street is smelly with open drains, footpath lined with little food carts.  People frying potatoes and lots of other strange things.  Lots of beautiful papayas, bananas, pomolos, all of which we can eat.  Also beautiful strawberries, grapes etc. that we would love to eat but we can't.  For anyone who sews, this place has the most wonderful material shops.  We also went to a huge market.  Thousands of little shops with glorious materials you can buy then off to the tailor section to get made up into lovely Myanmar outfits with the tight wrap skirt and little fitted blouse.  Jewellery, jade, gold, shirts, shoes,  anything you can think of.  I loved watching the tailor section.  Three or four women in their tiny little cubicle, one measuring, one cutting, one sewing and ironing.  Row upon row of them.  The sense of community was wonderful to watch.  Eating together, laughing and joking with their neighbouring tailors.  I guess they aren't making much, but they seemed happy, and I think we could learn a lot from them about community.  
Grahame has had meetings yesterday, and is at present in another one.  We have a full schedule in the next few days of making connections and getting the right people to work together.  We have to re-culturalise ourselves.  People here are quite different to Nepal.  More reserved.  I have to be careful, because I am so used to hugging everyone, and I need to hold back. 
I was sorry I didn't have my camera yesterday to try to get a photo of the markets and other things.  Maybe I will get a chance before we go home.  Our  hotel is basic, but it is lovely and clean and the staff are lovely.


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