Entertainment industry workers seek respect

Kathmandu, March 16

People, especially women, working in the entertainment industry are still looked down upon in a closed society like ours.

Like people working in other sectors, we also work for livelihood and contribute to society by providing entertainment to people in restaurants, dance bars, etc, but people have negative perception about us and our profession,” said Sonam Thapa, a worker at a dance bar.

She said that due to her profession, she had been facing difficulty finding shelter in Kathmandu.

Sharing her story with The Himalayan Times she said, “I have been working in a dance bar for a year and have already changed rooms more than four times. House owners ask me to leave my rented room when they know about my work. And since I have to work at night, they easily know about my work.”

Thapa, who has a seven-year-old son, was compelled to work as a dancer after her husband left her. She shared, “I’m an Indian and I hardly could speak Nepali. I was married to a Nepali man and he too left me. So, to survive in the capital and to provide education to my son I chose this profession.

Similarly, Sima Gurung, who worked in a Dohori Sanjh for 11 years as a waiter, said that despite being stigmatised by society, she respected her profession and wanted others to respect all kinds of profession.

“People view us as sex workers which is really disheartening for people working in this industry. We are forced to live hiding our identity,” she added.

According to the data made public by Swotantrata Abhiyan and five other organisations working for the people in entertainment industry, more than 60,000 people have been working in the entertainment sector. Of them, 28 per cent are less than 18 years old.

“Women working in the entertainment industry are viewed as sex workers due to which these women have to go through various difficulties and problems,” said Ritu Bhattarai, president at Swotantrata Abhiyan.

She urged the people to respect people working in entertainment industry.