Nepal | July 09, 2020

Editorial: Regulate leisure sector

The Himalayan Times
Share Now:

A provision of decent working conditions is a prerequisite to prevent females from being sexually abused

It is shocking to learn that 20 per cent of females engaged in the entertainment and hospitality sector have become victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking, according to a report published recently by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The NHRC report, titled “Status of Women and Children Working in Entertainment and Hospitality Sector”, has stated that concerned entrepreneurs were imposing forced labour either “deliberately” or “inadvertently”. Forced labour is illegal, especially when it involves women and girls in any sector, be it in the entertainment and hospitality sector or in other sectors. The report states that when women and girls are coerced or forced into sexual exploitation, the law enforcement agencies responsible for crime investigation and prosecution pay no attention to the plight of the victims. Instead, the victims of sexual exploitation are framed as the culprits to grant impunity to the entrepreneurs. The entertainment and hospitality sector includes dohorisanjh, rodhighar, dance bar, discotheque, massage parlour and cabin restaurant, where men frequent for relaxation. There are around 3,500 of such places across the country, mostly concentrated in the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Narayangadh, Itahari and Dharan. The report says that around 60,000 people, mostly women and girls, are engaged in this sector.

The report says the NHRC team had conducted interviews with a total of 56 female workers, and 37 per cent of them were below 18 years of age. Sixty-eight per cent of them were from outside the Kathmandu Valley, ranging from illiterate to college goers. During the interview, four female workers said they were forced into providing sexual services to the clients while three others were pressurised to act as sex workers. Even more shocking to learn is that the employers quite often withhold their salaries to make sure that they did not quit the work or report to the police about their plight.

Considering the plight of the female workers in this sector, it is high time the government introduced a bill to this effect to make it a dignified business and ensure their rights, minimum salary and other benefits to those working there. As we cannot put a complete ban on this sector, a specific law must govern it so that the female workers can lodge complaints and get justice whenever they face any kind of sexual or labour-related exploitation. Though there is no specific law dealing with the entertainment and hospitality sector, perpetrators can be booked under the existing Civil and Criminal Code Act, Children Act and Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act. As the nature of work in this sector is entirely different, we need to pass a separate law to deal with the problems faced by the female victims. The women and girls who are working in foreign countries as far away as Africa in the same sector also face sexual abuse, and they are also not allowed to return home whenever they wish. There should be close coordination among the labour office, police and office of the district attorney to put an end to human trafficking and sexual abuse. A provision of decent working conditions is a prerequisite to prevent women and girls from being sexually abused. The leisure sector will also get due recognition if it is well regulated by law.

Good initiative

It must have taken some resolve on the part of Namobuddha Municipality in Kavre to demolish six of the eight brick kilns on Sunday for failing to relocate by the end of last fiscal year. Bricks constitute the major building material while constructing houses in Nepal, but the traditional brick kilns spew heavy smoke and are a source of air pollution, especially in and around the Kathmandu Valley. There has been a spurt in the number of brick kilns on the outskirts of Kathmandu to meet the ever growing demand for housing in the capital. And this has had telling impact on the visibility and health of the inhabitants, especially when the brick kilns overcrowd an area.

There are ways to improve the environment. One is to relocate the brick kilns to the Tarai plains, where the smoke can disperse in all directions instead of concentrating just above a settlement. Secondly, more environment-friendly brick kilns can be introduced to cut down on the air pollution. But as the demand for housing and other constructions will only multiply with each passing year, it would be wiser to switch to other forms of construction materials, such as hollow concrete blocks.

A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Trump administration informs United Nations of US withdrawal from WHO

KATHMANDU: Trump administration that has been critical of the World Health Organisation (WHO) over its handling of coronavirus pandemic has formally withdrawn the United States from the UN health body, on Tuesday. The United Nations confirmed that the US would leave WHO on July 6, 2021, following Read More...

China, US trade tit-for-tat visa curbs over Tibet

BEIJING/WASHINGTON:  China said on Wednesday it will impose visa restrictions on US citizens who have engaged in what it called "egregious" behaviour over Tibet, in apparent retaliation against US restrictions on Chinese officials. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday the United Sta Read More...

West Indies must try to win inside four days: Lara

LONDON: Batting great Brian Lara has said West Indies' best chance of victory against England is to race out to an early lead and secure the win inside five days. All-rounder Jason Holder is part of the tourists' impressive bowling attack but questions remain about their batting ahead of the Read More...

Foreign students fret over being sent home after US visa rule

When the phone rang Tuesday morning, Raul Romero had barely slept. The 21-year-old Venezuelan, on a scholarship at Ohio’s Kenyon College, had spent hours pondering his options after US Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Monday that international students taking classes fully online f Read More...

255 new cases of coronavirus infection recorded on Wednesday; nationwide tally reaches 16,423

KATHMANDU: Ministry of Health and Population has confirmed 255 new cases of the coronavirus infection on Wednesday, which has taken the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 16,423. In the last 24 hours, 253 people have been discharged from health facilities across the country after recovery from COVID-19 Read More...

Lampard says Pulisic has raised his game at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard believes Christian Pulisic has taken his game to another level after the forward scored in Tuesday's 3-2 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old, who became the most expensive American soccer player when he joined Chelsea in January 2019 for 64 Read More...

Nepal COVID-19 Update: 255 new cases, 253 recoveries, no deaths

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Health Ministry, in its regular press briefing, shared the latest updates on coronavirus contagion from across the country, and government’s response to the health crisis. As of today, 266,457 tests through Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) method and 312,402 Rapid Diagn Read More...

In Pictures: Rallying forth in Prime Minister's support

Supporters of Prime Minister KP Oli organised a rally at Lagankhel, Lalitpur, on Wednesday, for the seventh day. The pro-prime minister demonstrations were held in the wake of recent political developments wherein PM Oli is being asked to step down from his either of his posts. Read More...