There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day.
Chantin was forced to marry a man she did not know when she was 21 years old. Her husband and his family would beat her, restrict food and force her to work ‘like a servant’.
My marriage was arranged by my relatives when I was 21 years old. I’m disabled and my family could only give me a small dowry.
My husband used to work as a farmer at a poultry farm. After our wedding, I lived with his family.
My marriage was fine in the beginning, but after a few months things changed. My husband and his family started to beat me. They said I was worthless because my disability meant they had only received a small dowry. I used to work like a servant every day and I was not given enough food.
One time, I got very ill and couldn’t work properly. Instead of taking me to the doctor, my husband beat me for not working and locked me in a room. He took away my cell phone, so I couldn’t call my parents. I was treated like an animal.
I couldn’t talk about this to anyone. I kept quiet but the abuse kept getting worse, my body was black and blue from beatings. They told lies about me and belittled me in front of other people.
After not seeing my parents for a year, my mother came to visit me. She learned about my situation and told my father and brothers. They rescued me from my husband and took me back home.
I never returned.
With the help of Anti-Slavery partner’s SASANE’s paralegal training, I built my confidence and feel I can live on my own and contribute to society.
Narrative provided by Anti-Slavery International