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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                              

Kingdom of Nepal

Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with almost one-third of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for three-fourths of the population and accounting for about one-third of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural products, including pulses, jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain..  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Nepal

Nepal is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Children are trafficked within the country and to India and the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation or forced marriage, as well as to India and within the country for involuntary servitude as domestic servants, circus entertainers, factory workers, or beggars. NGOs working on trafficking issues report an increase in both transnational and domestic trafficking during the reporting period, although a lack of reliable statistics makes the problem difficult to quantify. NGOs estimate that 10,000 to 15,000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked to India annually, while 7,500 children are trafficked domestically for commercial sexual exploitation. In many cases, relatives or acquaintances facilitated the trafficking of women and young girls into sexual exploitation. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009  Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here


CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Nepal.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Why Nepal's freed labourers want to return to slavery

Sanjaya Dhakal, Kathmandu, OneWorld South Asia, January 27, 2004

[accessed 9 December 2010]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

"Between 15 and 20 percent of the families declared free have returned to the same old practice of slavery," says Dilli Chaudhary, president of an NGO called Backward Society Education.

Bonded labourers in Nepal are called "kamaiyas" and belong to the country's backward Tharu community. It is sheer poverty that forces the poor to borrow rice and food from their employers - generally big landlords - and get trapped in slavery.

Under the practice, once indebted, the labourer and his heirs are 'bonded' to the landlord. They had to actually reside on the landlord's property until the debt was completely repaid, which seldom happened.

Women, Bought and Sold in Nepal

Katie Orlinsky, The New York Times Sunday Review, 31 Aug 2013

[accessed 1 Sept 2013]

One of the women I talked with was Charimaya Tamang, who 19 years ago went out to the fields to cut grass in her village in Nepal. Typically she would have gone with other women from her village, but that day she was alone. A group of men grabbed her from behind, tied her hands and made her swallow “a powder.” When she woke up she was in a city in northern India. “I had never seen tall buildings before,” she recalled. It was a lot hotter than her village and the men offered her a soda. “I didn’t want to drink it but I was so thirsty,” she said. The heat and soda were her last memories before finding herself in a Mumbai brothel under the care of a woman she called “Auntie,” where she remained in forced prostitution for 22 months.

A brothel pimp or madam pays close to $2,000 for one trafficked Nepalese girl, according to Rupa Rai, head of Caritas Nepal’s gender department. The girl is then obligated to repay this fee over time. Charimaya Tamang was the first woman in Nepal to file charges against her trafficker and win. The very same men that made her drink that soda were caught and put in jail, she said.


Nirakar Poudel, Media for Freedom, Nepal, August 5, 2007

-- Source:

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

An orphan from an early age, Madan Karki (name changed),14, used to work at his uncle's small farm in Jeevanpur of Dhading District, 50 kilometer west of capital. Madan's job was to take the cattle for grazing the whole day. One day, a family friend approached him with offer for work at his home in Kathmandu with a promise that he will be admitted in a school.

However, the man instead engaged him at a carpet factory in Kathmandu. Working like a bonded labor, Madan was forced to learn knotting wool rugs on heavy wooden looms. His workdays started at 4 am in the morning till 11 at night. The earthen floor of the factory was his bed. When the owner obtained a rush order, he and the other boys would have to work throughout the entire night. Despite his hard work, the owner always scolded and physically abused him.

After working in harsh conditions for about eight months in the factory, Madan –who was not paid - fled the factory to work as a helper in a gas tempo. Now, he earns about Rs 1000 (approximately $15) a month. Madan's case is not a unique one as this is the reality of many child workers in Nepal.

Because Nepal's dependency on child labor is so deeply entrenched, only half of the children are allowed to complete the fifth grade of school. The ILO reports showed that. Children are employed in eighteen different sectors like in brick kiln, coal mines, child prostitution, mug house, leather processing industry, coal mine, stone quarrying, match factory, house-hold helper, bonded labor, street children, mine and carpet factory, drug trafficking, transport sector etc. About 1.4 million children are not provided the salary for their work and 1.27 million children are working in worst forms of labor.

Call for Global Action to halt Nepalese women and girls trafficking

Surya B. Prasai, The American Chronicle, February 10, 2008

[accessed 22 August 2014]

[accessed 13 June 2017]

The other alarming fact of course is that Nepal has a unique cultural system known as "Deukis," whereby by rich zamindars (feudalistic agricultural families) having no children through a legally married wife, procure these young girls from poor rural Nepalese families and after initiating them into the household through the temple rites are taken as mistresses cum slave bonded laborers to produce offspring. Later on, as the girl gets to be over 30 years and grows older, she is forced into prostitution. There is no respite to what the poor Nepalese girl has to suffer on in life once initiated into this system. In 2007 according to a UN report, there werel nearly 30,000 deukis in Nepal compared to 1992, when there were 17,000 deuki girls according to Radhika Coomaraswamy in the UN Special Report on Violence against Women.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Poverty’s Contribution To Child Marriage In Nepal

Daryn Lenahan, The Borgen Project, 12 October 2020

[accessed 23 February 2021]

Several factors contribute to child marriage in developing countries. Nepal has a patriarchal society that values girls significantly less than boys. Limited access to education and a negative outlook towards a sexual expression motivates adolescents to marry early. The most massive motivator, however, is poverty. Countries with a higher percentage of the population living on under $1.90 per day, including Nepal, frequently experience higher rates of child marriage. Poverty correlates to the high rates of child marriage in Nepal, including dowries and financial benefits, economic hardship of schooling and “love marriages” to escape poverty.

12 trafficking victims, including three minors, rescued in past three months

[Categories - Deception of Victims, Poverty]

Shuvam Dhungana, the Kathmandu Post, 24 June 2020

[accessed 24 June 2020]

“The traffickers, like in most cases, had lured their victims by offering them false hope of well-paying jobs and better lifestyle. However, they were arrested before they could reach far from the authorities due to the nationwide lockdown and travel restrictions. Many of them were arrested near the India-Nepal border,” said SSP Deb Bahadur Bohara, chief of the bureau.

“The two men reportedly lured the young girl to go with them to India by promising her a job,” said SP Gobinda Thapaliya.

“The girl, who was sold to a dance company, was rescued with the help of Indian police and reunited with her family,” Thapaliya said.

Investigation revealed that the teenager had been kept captive for months before she was rescued.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Nepal

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 18 June 2021]


Forced labor, including through debt-based bondage, of adults and children existed in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. A government study documented more than 61,000 individuals–including approximately 10,000 children–in forced labor over the past five years, especially in agriculture, forestry, and construction. NGOs continued to report some children worked in brick kilns, including carrying loads, preparing bricks, and performing other tasks at kilns for extended periods.


Child labor, including forced child labor, occurred in agriculture, domestic service, portering, recycling, and transportation; the worst abuses were reported in brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, the carpet sector, embroidery factories, and the entertainment sector. In the informal sector, children worked long hours in unhealthy environments, carried heavy loads, were at risk of sexual exploitation, and at times suffered from numerous health problems (see section 6, Children).

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Trafficking of children and women from Nepal for prostitution in India is common, and police rarely intervene. Bonded labor is illegal but remains a serious problem. Child labor also remains a problem; children can be found working in the brickmaking, service, and other industries, as well as in forced begging and sex work.

The 2015 earthquake left millions of people homeless. Many of those affected lack opportunities for social mobility, as they struggle to recover from the disaster.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 731]

Children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation both within and outside Nepal, including to India, the Middle East, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. (6; 30; 31; 32; 2; 19) Many children in Nepal are engaged in the production of bricks, which exposes them to hazardous working conditions, including carrying heaving loads, using dangerous machinery, and working in extreme heat. (1).

Child marriages, trafficking will soar after Nepal quake: charity

Emma Batha, Thomson Reuters Foundation, CASABLANCA, Morocco, 19 May 2015

[accessed 19 May 2015]

The massive earthquakes in Nepal will lead to a dramatic rise in child marriage and the trafficking of children as criminals prey on orphans and parents act to protect young daughters, the head of a social welfare organization predicted on Tuesday.

"Rape is taking place. Almost every week we have a case of a young girl being raped by a group of boys (in tents)," he said. "Parents who have young girls will have fear in their minds and they will think the best way to ensure her safety will be to marry her."

Other girls may be married off because their parents have been killed, their families can no longer afford to keep them in school or because their schools were destroyed.

Nepalese man sues KBR on human trafficking charges

Agence France-Presse AFP, August 28, 2008

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

A Nepalese man and relatives of 12 of his slain comrades filed a lawsuit in federal court against the construction and services giant KBR on charges of human trafficking, for allegedly tricking the men into working in Iraq.  The men, between the ages of 18 and 27, "were recruited in Nepal to work as kitchen staff in hotels and restaurants in Amman, Jordan," read a statement from Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, one of the law firms handling the case.  However once they arrived in Jordan "they were not provided the expected employment." Their passports were seized, and they were told they were being sent to Iraq "to provide menial labor" at the Al-Asad Air Base, the statement read.

Rescuing girls from sex slavery

Ebonne Ruffins, Cable News Network CNN, Kathmandu, April 30, 2010

[accessed 23 February 2011]

The daughter of Nepalese peasant farmers, Geeta -- now 26 -- had been sold to a brothel in India by a member of her extended family. The family member had duped Geeta's visually impaired mother into believing her daughter would get work at a clothing company in Nepal.   "The brothel where I was ... there [were] many customers coming in every day. The owner used to verbally abuse us, and if we didn't comply, [she] would start beating us with wires, rods and hot spoons."   It was not until Geeta was 14 that a police officer rescued her and brought her to a safe house compound run by Anuradha Koirala. The 61-year-old woman and her group, Maiti Nepal, have been fighting for more than 16 years to rescue and rehabilitate thousands of Nepal's sex trafficking victims.

Trafficking Of Women And Girls: A Study Of Causes And Coping Strategies

SSweta Thapa, Graduate Student, Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), September 2008

[Long URL]

[accessed 15 February 2022]

The problem of trafficking of women and girls is particularly acute in the rural areas of Nepal. With an ever increasing number of Nepalese girls going abroad as migrant women workers, itis even more difficult to estimate the exact figure. Often, a figure of 5,000 to 15,000 women and young girls being trafficked to Indian brothels each year is cited, and 30 districts were identified as the most trafficking prone

(UNICEF, 2007). Most of the women are raped and sexually abused even before they reach to brothels in various urban centers in India. One study shows that every year, 12,000 girls under the age of 18 are trafficked to India where they are sold at prices varying from Indian rupees 25,000 to 100,000 (UNIFEM and IIDS, 22004). This has become a large profit making business and the International Organization on Migration (IOM) states that the global trafficking industry generates about US$ 8 billion in revenue each year (Widgren, 1994). About 44% of the trafficked women belong to the Dalit caste groups (Save the Children Norway, 2005).

The largest proportion of victims are trafficked across the border from Nepal to India, but the trafficking business has diversified nowadays to include new destinations like Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand and the Gulf states.

Seven Nepalese held for human trafficking to India

Press Trust of India PTI, Kathmandu, June 6, 2008

[accessed 23 February 2011]

The women, who had been sold to a brothel in Kolkota last year, managed to escape from Dharamtala area where they were locked up for three days, the police said.  Krishna and his associates had persuaded the women to carry herbs to Kolkata for a sum of Rs 30,000 each. The family members of the victims were also assured that the women would return within three days. The accused made Rs 6 lakh by selling the women to brokers, one of the victims said.  "We had never imagined that we would be trapped in such a situation in the name of exporting herbs," she said.

Stop AIDS, halt trafficking in Nepalese women

Surya B. Prasai, The American Chronicle, February 22, 2008

[accessed 5 July 2013]

[accessed 19 February 2019]

The first known case of AIDS in Nepal was in 1986 and in the period 1996-2006, the 10 year period of the Nepalese civil conflict, a total of 200,000 to 250,000 Nepalese young girls aged 12-29 were either sold or illegally exchanged for cash in various Indian cities by women traffickers.

Govt to set up 3 rehabs for trafficking victims

Nov 24, 2007

[access date unavailable]

"We have cases in which children are trafficked to India during harvest season and they are forced to live like slaves. Human trafficking also takes place for organ transplant," Bhandari said adding, "Including Nuwakot, Kavre and Sindhupalchowk, the government has identified 25 districts as trafficking prone."

Human trafficking helps spread HIV/AIDS in Asia: UN

Ranga Sirilal, Reuters, Colombo, Aug 22, 2007

[accessed 23 February 2011]

"Trafficking ... contributes to the spread of HIV by significantly increasing the vulnerability of trafficked persons to infection," said Caitlin Wiesen-Antin, HIV/AIDS regional coordinator, Asia and Pacific, for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).  "Both human trafficking and HIV greatly threaten human development and security."

Major human trafficking routes run between Nepal and India and between Thailand and neighbors like Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar. Many of the victims are young teenage girls who end up in prostitution.  "The link between human trafficking and HIV/AIDS has only been identified fairly recently," Wiesen-Antin told the International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific.

NGOs Work To Eradicate Human Trafficking, Help Victims

Press release submitted by, Washington DC, - Various Authors

[accessed 23 February 2011]

U.S.-funded nongovernmental organizations around the world are working to prevent human trafficking, provide resources to victims and arrest and prosecute child-sex offenders. From Africa to Europe to Asia, initiatives are raising worldwide awareness of the illegal practice of human trafficking.

PREVENTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING - Shakti Samuaha in Nepal is the first NGO in the world formed by trafficking survivors, and more than 120 survivors attended its conference in March to commemorate International Women’s Day. Conference participants focused on preventing human trafficking of vulnerable populations, particularly adolescent girls, and providing rehabilitative services for other trafficking survivors.

Of Serious Concern

Editorial, Gorkhapatra Sansthan - Dharmapath, Kathmandu, Nepal,  2007-1-13

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[scroll down]

Incidents of human trafficking are on the rise in the country despite the presence of a number of organisations, both in the private and government sectors, and the powerful media that makes each incident of human trafficking public. The latest case of human trafficking was revealed in Nepalgunj the other day when a suspected trafficker was arrested while trying to traffic four boys and five girls across the border. Thanks to Maiti Nepal, an NGO working for the well-being of helpless girls, the police arrested the suspected trafficker. Though there is no official record regarding the number of Nepalese girls trafficked to Indian brothels, thousands of Nepalese girls are said to live lives of untold misery in the Indian brothels.

Action Plan Against Trafficking

[access date unavailable]

Although the government, law enforcement agencies and social orgnisations have been active in checking human trafficking, the unscrupulous brokers continue to do the business taking advantage of legal and other loopholes. It is also believed that there is a strong nexus between the brothel owners, brokers, politicians and criminal gangs who aid in human trafficking. As a result, checking and eliminating human trafficking have become a challenge.

Update mechanism to check human trafficking


[access date unavailable]

Timely changes need to be made in the existing national plan of action to combat human trafficking and trade of human kind, participants at a national policy consultation workshop said Sunday.  Speaking at the workshop jointly organised by the Ministry for Women, Children and Social Welfare, Ministry for Local Development, WOREC Nepal and Alliance working against the trafficking of women and children, participants underscored the need to sign a extradition treaty to rescue the victims of trafficking from the next country.

Peace Won't Stop Human Trafficking

Marty Logan, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Kathmandu, Sep 14, 2006

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 24 September 2016]

Men also are trafficked -- lured to a centre by the prospect of a certain job and then kept in exploitative work situations.

The report estimates that 60 percent of trafficking from and within this South Asian nation is for sexual purposes and 40 percent is to supply workers for labour, such as toiling in garment factories.

"Trafficking for various purposes other than sexual ones still needs to be addressed strategically...the lack of a definition has created confusion in formulating acts, plans and policies"

Human trafficking from Nepal on rise [PDF]

Mohan Budhair, Kathmandu Post, Paliya India, 8 September 2006

[accessed 29 May 2011]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

[page 22] Trafficking of Nepalese women and children into India, especially from the western districts, has increased significantly in recent days due to lax security at border checkpoints.

A large number of women and children are being trafficked into India from checkpoints west of Butwal, representatives of several Indian and Nepalese non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and security officials stated during an interaction on 'controlling cross-border human trafficking'.

Prostitution of Nepalese girls rampant in Indian brothel, Kolkata, Nov 20, 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

''Young girls are trafficked from Nepal to brothels in Mumbai and Kolkata at an average age of twelve. They are trapped into the vicious cycle of prostitution, debt and slavery. By the time they are in their mid-twenties, they are at the dead end or 'cul-de-sac','' the study noted.

Women Trafficking And Conflict

Kamala Sarup, Telegraph, 14 March 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

"I got acquainted with a boy who was 30 who said he loved me and promised to marry me. He convinced me to go to India for a better life. I went with him. The same night one of the men told us that we had to work in prostitution. I told him that I didn't want to work in prostitution, but he threatened me severely.

Around 30 Percent Child Recruits in Maoist Army

UNICEF Child Trafficking Research HUB

-- Source:, 27 January 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Around 30 percent of the "people's army" of Nepal's Maoist insurgents comprise child recruits, a US-based rights organization has said.  This "pupils' army" militia, comprising boys and girls under 18, does not fight directly - it is used to carry weapons, supplies, gather information and even help lay booby traps, the New York-based Watchlist said in a report here.

17,000 Nepal Women Forced Into Prostitution In India

Xinhua News Agency, March 26, 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

According to the study, the investigators talked personally to the Nepali women in the brothels of India in course of doing research.  Most of them fall prey to the avarice of family members. Local brokers come second in the line of the process of selling them there.

The Saving of Innocents - The Satya Interview with Ruchira Gupta

Satya Magazine, January 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

An uncle or a family friend pays the parent something like $30. There is the middleman in a packed city, the border guard who takes a payoff, and the agent who takes the girls across the border to the people who then transport them to Bombay and on to the brothel madam, who buys the girls for $50 to $100.

Nepal's children devastated by raging armed conflict

Press Release, CARE, 26 Jan 2005

[accessed 29 August 2011]

Watchlist calls for immediate action to stop the spectrum of violations against children in the context of armed conflict, including killing, maiming, torture, rape and other forms of sexual violence, attacks on schools, abduction, trafficking, forced labor, underage recruitment into fighting forces, forced displacement, death and injury from landmines, and others.

Fighting to stop trade in sex slaves

Kate Kirton, Edinburgh Evening News, 29 May 2004

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Girls as young as 13 are taken from villages and slum areas by traffickers - men, and sometimes women - who lure them away with the promise of well-paid jobs in the country’s capital, Kathmandu, or in the big cities of India and the Gulf states.

But what actually awaits the girls is a life of forced prostitution in these cities’ brothels. The girls don’t know how to escape - they are mainly uneducated and extremely poor and too ashamed to tell their families what they are doing.  Even if they manage to escape or get rescued from the brothels, their families and communities often refuse to take them back because of the social stigma the girls now carry.

Nepal rebels plan to train 50,000 Child Soldiers

Asian Human Rights Commission, Asia Child Rights ACR Weekly Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 10 - 10 March 2004

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

This week, Nepal's Maoist rebels announced plans to raise a militia of 50,000 children by April, amid reports of mass abduction, even sexual abuse of kids, who they allegedly use as cannon fodder.

The lost childhood

Anita Pandey, Feb 18, 2004 -- Source:

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

In the past six months, CWIN recorded 2,866 cases of child labour exploitation, child deaths and murder, missing children, violence, sexual abuse, trafficking, forced prostitution, children affected by armed conflict and children in conflict with the law.

Strengthening Women's Rights

OXFAM in action - Nepal

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[scroll down]

STRENGTHENING WOMEN'S RIGHTS - Life is hard for most women in Nepal. Many have to survive on less than $1 a day. Domestic violence and the trafficking of women are widespread.

Between 5,000 and 12,000 Nepalese girls are trafficked by organised gangs to work in brothels each year.  Only 27 per cent of women are literate compared with 67 per cent of men.

A Nepalese woman cannot apply for a job, passport, or bank account without permission from her father or husband. And with low female literacy rates, it is difficult for Nepali women to use public courts to challenge abuse and discrimination.

Trafficking from Nepal unabated

Devesh K. Pandey, The Hindu, New Delhi, Dec. 12, 2004

The contents of this article had appeared under a different title and may possibly still be accessible [here]  

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

The survey found that apart from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Nepalese women and children are also trafficked to Maharashtra, West Bengal and Bihar. Most of the victims, belonging to poor families, are brought here on the pretext of providing them better jobs. It is being suspected that the three girls, who have gone missing from Chitwan, were brought here on the pretext of getting them roles in Indian movies. Lured by such offers, the victims accompany trafficking agents, who sell them off to brothel owners.  From those rescued in the recent past, the authorities concerned have come to know that several Nepalese girls were also sold off to brothels located on G.B. Road in Central Delhi.

Combating Trafficking In Nepal

USAID from the American People, May 29, 2009

[accessed 2 September 2012]

[accessed 19 February 2019]

Fourteen-year-old Urmila Tamang (name changed to protect her privacy) is from a small village in Chitwan, Nepal. A woman from a neighboring district approached Urmila’s unsuspecting parents in 2002 with promises of a lucrative circus job for their daughter in Varanasi, a city in northern India. Ignorant about human trafficking, they sent Urmila without enquiring further about the nature of the job. There, Urmila endured a year of labor exploitation and sexual harassment as an acrobat and tight rope walker.

Nepal's victims of human trafficking shy away from justice

Sanjaya Dhakal,, January 08, 2004

[Last access date unavailable]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

Even though Nepal has a strict legal system that can punish traffickers with life imprisonment, a combination of factors keeps the victims away from the doors of justice - social stigma, lengthy judicial process, re-victimisation and lack of easy access to the law.

Take the example of Tirtha Rai (name changed), a girl in her mid-20s from the district of Sindhupalchowk, east of Kathmandu valley. She had been sold to a brothel in India by her aunt.

Similarly, Bhawana Sharma (name changed), a teen-aged girl from Nuwakot, a district west of Kathmandu, was lured by a promise of marriage and taken to Pune in India, where she was sold to a brothel.

Labour migration and human trafficking in Nepal

OneWorld United States, Oct. 23, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

Nepal has faced the problem of human trafficking, particularly of girls and women, for many years. Illiteracy, superstition, cultural stereotypes, gender disparity and economic deprivation, among other factors, place women in powerless, non-negotiable situations which have contributed to the emergence and breeding of this problem not only in Nepal but in the entire region.

US blames turmoil for prostitution in Nepal

Indo-Asian News Service IANS, Kathmandu, June 16, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

The report holds the eight-year-old Maoist insurgency responsible in many ways. The rebels themselves are perpetrators, it says, abducting and forcibly conscripting children.  Since September 2003, the insurgents have abducted about 950 children, the report says.

In rural areas, insurgency activities have led to the withdrawal of police, resulting in a remarkable decrease in trafficking related investigations.  The government, grappling with the rebels on one hand and political parties on the other, has been unable to combat trafficking.

Since the dissolution of parliament in 2002, no elections have been held. As a result, legislation that would have cracked down on trafficking-related offences remains in limbo, the report says.

Nepal police free child labourers

Bhagirath Yogi, BBC correspondent in Kathmandu, BBC News, 11 January 2003

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Police in Nepal have rescued 14 children, forced to work as bonded labourers at a weaving factory in the capital, Kathmandu. Police said the children were working as wool spinners within the dark, cold rooms of the secretly run factory.  They said the children, aged between 14 and 17, were treated inhumanely and were not paid.

Combating Trafficking of Women and Children in South Asia [PDF]

Regional Synthesis Paper for Bangladesh, India, and Nepal, Asian Development Bank, April 2003

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

[page 110]  With regard to trafficking for sexual exploitation, the Government of Nepal has become increasingly concerned, particularly about the trafficking of adolescent and young girls to India, where many of them end up in brothels. In 1998 the Government therefore began work on a National Policy, Action Plan and Institutional Mechanism to Combat Against Trafficking in Women and Children for Commercial Sexual Exploitation. The National Action Plan is broad-based, and includes proposed activities in the areas of (i) policy, research, and institutional development; (ii) legislation and enforcement; (iii) awareness raising, advocacy, networking, and social mobilization; (iv) health and education; (v) income and employment generation; and (vi) rescue and reintegration.  The UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women commended the Action Plan as both comprehensive and well thought out, although she noted that more attention could be paid to the prosecution and punishment of traffickers.

The Enslavement of Dalit and Indigenous Communities [PDF]

Discrimination on the Basis of Work and Descent, UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, February 2001

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[accessed 7 February 2018]

SUMMARY: - This paper describes the gross and continuing violation of the rights of millions of people in India, Pakistan and Nepal1, who are trapped in debt bondage and forced to work to repay loans. Their designation as persons belonging outside the Hindu caste system is a major determining factor of their enslavement. Evidence from all three countries shows that the vast majority (80%-98%) of bonded labourers are from communities designated as “untouchable”, to whom certain occupations are assigned, or from indigenous communities. In the same way that caste status is inherited, so debts are passed on to the succeeding generations.

Slaves To Lust

Lesley Downer, The Sunday Times, Weekend Magazine, July 18, 1999

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

She confides that, in reality, she was sold by her friends, who tricked her into going to Mumbai. The madam paid 35,000 rupees ($750) for her, a sum that took her four and a half years to repay. In India, prostitution is not illegal, so long as it is voluntary and the girls are not underage. None the less, the police have been cracking down on Nepalese underage girls. So the girls lie about everything – their age, their nationality, their names.

By the time Kanchi had repaid her debt she had forgotten the traffickers. Falkland Road had become her life and her home. She began to make money. She charges, she says, 35 to 50 rupees (75c-$1.10) a customer, out of which she pays rent for the bed and the regular requisite bribes to the police. Not long ago, she went back to Kathmandu in Nepal. She told her sisters she was working in a hotel, washing dishes. “I’m the only one in my family who’s gone to the bad,” she says. “I don’t like this life, but what can I do? If I don’t do this, I die. What else is there to do?” Because she is beautiful, many men have offered to marry her. But she is too canny for that. “So many men try to seduce me. But I know they’ll just sell me back to the brothel.”

RAPE FOR PROFIT - Trafficking of Nepali Girls and Women to India's Brothels

Human Rights Watch/Asia Report, Vol. 12, No. 5 (A), October 1995

[accessed 23 February 2011]

INTRODUCTION - Trafficking victims in India are subjected to conditions tantamount to slavery and to serious physical abuse. Held in debt bondage for years at a time, they are raped and subjected to other forms of torture, to severe beatings, exposure to AIDS, and arbitrary imprisonment. Many are young women from remote hill villages and poor border communities of Nepal who are lured from their villages by local recruiters, relatives or neighbors promising jobs or marriage, and sold for amounts as small as Nepali Rs.200 [$4.00] to brokers who deliver them to brothel owners in India for anywhere from Rs.15,000 to Rs.40,000 [$500-$1,333]. This purchase price, plus interest (reported to be ten percent of the total), becomes the "debt" that the women must work to pay off -- a process that can stretch on indefinitely. Only the brothel owner knows the terms of the debt, and most women have no idea how much they owe or the terms for repayment. Brothels are tightly controlled, and the girls are under constant surveillance. Escape is virtually impossible. Owners use threats and severe beatings to keep inmates in line. In addition, women fear capture by other brothel agents and arrest by the police if they are found on the streets; some of these police are the brothel owner's best clients. Many of the girls and women are brought to India as virgins; many return to Nepal with the HIV virus.

Tulasa and the Horrors of Child Prostitution - Sold And Resold Body And Soul

Rajedar Menen reports from Kathmandu and Bombay, Indian Health Organization, 1993

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 9 September 2011]

Tulasa was abducted from Thankut village in Bagmati district near Kathmandu and then smuggled to Bombay via Birganj 11 years ago. She was sold thrice, to different brothel keepers in the city, for prices ranging from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 7,500. Brutalized and ravaged, it was only when her tiny body simultaneously playing host to three venereal diseases and three types of tuberculosis collapsed, that her ordeal came to an end. Doctors salvaged whatever remained of her and contacted her father who took her back to Nepal.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

[53] Given the significant number of Nepalese children who are adopted by foreigners and in the context of the current armed conflict in the State party, the Committee is concerned at the lack of a clear policy and appropriate legislation on inter-country adoption, which result in various practices, such as trafficking and smuggling of babies. The Committee is particularly concerned about the absence of due judicial process, including technical assessment of capacity of the parents or guardians, in cases involving termination of the parental responsibility. The Committee also expresses concern regarding the practice of the so-called informal adoption, which may entail exploitation of children as domestic servants.

[95] The Committee takes note of the various efforts undertaken by the State party to combat child trafficking and welcomes the information that police officers are
being trained in issues relating to sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children. However, the Committee remains deeply concerned by the perversity of the phenomenon of trafficking and sale of children within Nepal and across the border for the purposes of sexual exploitation and bonded labor. The Committee notes with grave concern that certain groups of children are at a particularly higher risk of being sold and trafficked, including girls, internally displaced children, street children, orphans, children from rural areas, refugee children and children belonging to more vulnerable castes. The Committee further expresses concern that the existing legal protection for victims of trafficking, most notably the Human Trafficking Control Act, is inadequate, and that its implementation is seriously inadequate. The Committee is also concerned that the child victims of sexual exploitation do not receive adequate protection and recovery assistance.

Human Rights Overview 2005

Human Rights Watch World Report 2005 -- 13 january 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

VIOLENCE AND DISCRIMINATION BASED ON GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION - Gender-based violence—including domestic violence, sexual assault, and trafficking into forced labor and forced prostitution—remains pervasive and deeply entrenched in Nepal.


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Maoists abducted teenagers and some younger children to serve as porters, runners, cooks, and armed cadre. Most children abducted from their schools for political education sessions were returned home within a few days, but some remained with the Maoists, either voluntarily or under compulsion. The Maoists denied recruiting children. In September the RNA estimated that 30 percent of Maoist guerillas were under the age of 18, and some were as young as 10.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONSLocal NGOs combating trafficking estimated that 25 thousand to 200 thousand women and girls were lured or abducted annually into India and subsequently forced into prostitution; however, these numbers were not consistent, and NGOs continued to seek better estimates. Women were also trafficked to Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, and other gulf states for sexual exploitation and domestic servitude. In 2003 the government lifted a ban on female domestic labor leaving the country to work in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the gulf. The government did not monitor adequately labor recruiting agencies to ensure that workers going abroad attended pre-migration orientation sessions, or that labor contracts were honored after workers' arrivals in receiving countries.

Hundreds of women and girls returned voluntarily or were rescued and repatriated to the country annually after having worked as commercial sex workers in India. Most were destitute and, according to estimates by local NGOs Maiti Nepal and ABC Nepal, 50 percent were HIV-positive when they returned. Maiti Nepal, the country's largest anti-trafficking NGO, operated a hospice for HIV positive trafficking victims and their children.

Traffickers were usually from the country or India, and had links to brothels in India. In some cases parents or relatives sold women and young girls into sexual slavery. NGOs' unverified estimates suggested that 50 percent of victims were lured to India with the promise of good jobs and marriage, 40 percent were sold by a family member, and 10 percent were kidnapped. During the year the government identified 26 high-priority districts as source areas of trafficking and established anti-trafficking task forces in nine districts of the country. Women and youth displaced from homes as a result of the insurgency were especially vulnerable to being trafficked.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 23 February 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - The government has reported a range of estimates for the number of child trafficking victims.  Some 5,000 to 12,000 girls may be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation annually, and as many as 200,000 trafficked Nepalese girls are estimated to reside in Indian brothels.  Girls as young as 9 years old have been trafficked.  In 2001, a local NGO recorded 265 cases of girl trafficking victims, of which 34 percent were below 16 years of age.  While trafficking of children often leads to their sexual exploitation, there is also demand for trafficked boys and girls to work in the informal labor sector

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