Entertainment sector emerging as destination for trafficking girls: NHRC

Kathmandu, September 20

Entertainment sector has become both the destination as well as the transit place for trafficking girls, says a report recently released by the National Human Rights Commission.

According to National Report on ‘Trafficking in Persons in Nepal, 2018’, 60 per cent female workers reported that they were approached by middlemen to go to India or overseas for dancing in night clubs and restaurants.

The growth of entertainment sector is mainly reported in Kathmandu valley, Pokhara, Narayanghat, Itahari and Dharan. Entertainment business emerged especially after Nepal adopted liberal economic policy in 1990s. A 2011 study shows that there are estimated 11,000 to 15,000 girls and women in the entertainment business. A total of 30 female workers had participated in a study conducted by the NHRC.

“Recruitment process in the entertainment sectors is unfair, abusive and uncompetitive. Almost all 24 girls interviewed took up the job in their childhood and more than 60 per cent engaged in the entertainment sector without their prior knowledge about the nature of work,” the report states.

Of the 24 girls, 70 per cent said they had been sexually abused. The mode of payment system appears to be exploitative. The waiters are paid on the basis of their sale of volume of beverage, food and alcohol to customers.

The lower the sales, the higher the chances that the female workers are scolded and not paid on time, the report states. Many female workers find entertainment sectors unsafe and also feel socially stigmatised while working.

According to the report, the majority do not seek legal treatment because justice is delayed and they have little faith in the justice system. Cases of forced and unwanted pregnancy were also reported among girls working in the restaurants.

Traffickers use different modus operandi for luring the victims. Only a few victims are trafficked by using coercive measures such as threats, using drugs or medicines. Rather, they are largely tempted by false promises of good job and good pay.

Fake marriage, pretending to be on a tour and pretending to visit relatives are also the modus operandi for trafficking girls and women to India and oversea. Trafficking takes place in a network chain and is an organised crime. The number of trafficking cases registered with police increased from 185 in the fiscal 2013-14 to 305 in the fiscal 2017-18.