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Nepal Quake Victims Now Face Threat Of Human Trafficking

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Nepal has a human trafficking issue. With an open border between Nepal and India, traffickers openly move people between the two countries with promises of work. Nepalese women are trafficked to China for sex work. With the recent massive earthquake, the Nepalese who have been displaced now face the threat of trafficking.

Tens of thousands of young women from regions devastated by the earthquake in Nepal are being targeted by human traffickers supplying a network of brothels across south Asia, campaigners in Kathmandu and affected areas say.

The 7.8-magnitude quake, which killed more than 7,000 people, has devastated poor rural communities, with hundreds of thousands losing their homes and possessions. Girls and young women in these communities have long been targeted by traffickers, who abduct them and force them into sex work.

It’s easy for traffickers to lure women under the guise of aid, especially in places where NGOs and aid workers are ubiquitous. The chaos caused by the earthquake makes the job of traffickers much easier, especially as many families become desperate.

[One young woman] had been taken from her village in Sindhupalchok, the hill area north of Kathmandu, to the Indian border town of Siliguri where she was sold to a brothel owner, repeatedly beaten, systematically raped by hundreds of men and infected with HIV. “I do not have nightmares about my time there. I have erased it from my memory,” she said.

It is common for traffickers to promise young women marriage to wealthy foreigners, work as nannies, or domestic workers. Men are often lured with construction jobs. With high illiteracy and poverty rates, traffickers don’t often have to “sell” very hard.

Read “Nepal quake survivors face threat from human traffickers supplying sex trade” at The Guardian.

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Elise Hilton Communications Specialist at Acton Institute. M.A. in World Religions.

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