39 minors rescued from restaurants and dance bars

Kathmandu, May 31

Police raided a dozen dance bars and dohori sanjh restaurants in Thamel, Gongabu, Koteshwor, Balaju and Baneshwor, and rescued as many as 39 underage girls from there.

Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, informed that the coordinated raids were carried out yesterday night based on information that some dance bars and restaurants in these areas were employing children below the age of 16 years in violation of the existing laws.

The Children’s Act has defined a child as a person below 16 years. Similarly, the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act prohibits the engagement of minors in any kind of labour.

The owners of the dance bars, hotels and restaurants have been arrested for further investigation. Police said the underage girls were engaged in work by way of persuasion, misrepresentation or by subjecting them to influence, fear, threat and coercion.

Of the rescued girls, 32 have been handed over to the custody of Maiti Nepal while seven are in Child Workers in Nepal, a non-governmental organisation which collaborated with police for the rescue of the minors.

Police said many minors in the entertainment industry were forced to engage in sexual activities and were highly vulnerable to trafficking.

According to a recent figure of the Ministry of Women, Children and Senior Citizens, there are more than 25,000 entertainment centres in Nepal and around 12,000 of them are in the Kathmandu valley alone.

Despite the ban on child labour, minor girls continue to be employed in the entertainment industry. Girls below the age of 16 are employed as waitress, performers and workers in dance bars, restaurants, hotels, dohori sanjh restaurants, massage parlours and spa centres.

Poverty, inadequate education, legal and employment structures, gender discrimination and lack of social awareness, among others, are major factors related to child labour and its consequences, according to a report of the International Labour Organisation.