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Aakash

Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel. Aakash, 24, from Nepal, became trapped in debt bondage in the electronics industry in Malaysia.

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Aamuktha

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape. Aamuktha* was trafficked in to commercial sexual exploitation from Nepal to India. 

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Aamuktha

Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guesthouses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Aamuktha convinced her father to let her go to Kathmandu to get a job instead of being forced to marry at a young age. However, Aamuktha was convinced to start selling drugs and travelled to India with another young girl where she was sold to a brothel. Subjected to daily beatings and raped, Aamuktha was finally able to escape by feigning illness.

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Alisha

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Alisha hoped to continue her studies but her family’s financial needs led her to take a job as a domestic worker in Kathmandu. Alisha was forced to work long hours with no breaks, had her food and movement restricted and was subjected to physical abuse by her employer.

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Amirta

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault.   Amirta travelled from Nepal to Lebanon for domestic work. However, she was forced to work long hours for little pay and had her food and movement restricted. Amirta was subjected to threats and physical violence that saw her admitted to the hospital.

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Anita

Anita was trafficked from Nepal to India in 1998 at the age of 27. Her narrative emphasizes the uniquely female elements of slavery. She describes her pain as a mother separated from her children, mentions the idea that the women in the brothel are her “sisters,” seeks escape by offering an earring to one woman, and finally escapes when another woman accidentally leaves a gate open. She gains empathy from a client by telling him: “I am like your daughter.” Even Anita’s psychological turning-point from freedom to slavery is female specific. “They cut off my hair,” she remembers. “I could not leave the brothel without everyone identifying me as a prostitute…short hair is the sign of a wild woman.” Thousands of Nepali women and children are trafficked every year across the border into Indian brothels, and Nepal has an unknown number of internal sex trafficking victims as well. In response to a dowry practice, where they must offer gifts that could be worth several years’ income, some parents sell their daughters rather than have them married. Other women are drugged and taken across the border, like Anita. Once enslaved, Nepali girls and women are more likely to be arrested than rescued by the police, and most Nepalese victims never leave India, even after liberation. Those who do are often shunned by their families and remain in Kathmandu at shelters. Anita describes such familial rejection in the wake of her experience.

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Anita D

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Anita D was 19 years old when she took a job as a maid in India. However, upon arrival she discovered she would be forced to work in a brothel. Anita was locked in a room for three years and forced to provide sexual services for up to 40 men a day. Anita tells of the importance of status to survival in the brothel, how she became a madam, and how finding religion showed her the path to freedom.   

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Ashia C

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India   Ashia C was forced to marry at an early age. Within the marriage she was subjected to physical violence.

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Babita Tharu

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia, after Bangladesh and India. Babita Tharu was married at age 11 to a man about 8 years older than her.

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Beli

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Beli was 14 years old when she was abducted from her home in Katmandu and forced to work in a brothel in Bombay. Beli was beaten, given little food and had her movement restricted.

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Chantin

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’.

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Deependra

Migrant workers from Asia and Sub-Saharan African continue to flock to the Middle East for work. Migrant workers are subject to practices that may amount to forced labour including extortionate recruitment fees, illegal confiscation of identity documents, withholding and non-payment of salaries, hazardous working conditions, unhygienic living conditions, unlawful overtime performed under the threat of deportation, and physical and sexual abuse. In 2015 an IOM and Walk Free study of 162 exploited migrant workers from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, 100% of workers had their identity documents withheld, 87% were confined to their workplace and 76% had their wages withheld. Deependra Giri was looking for work when he was offered a job with a good salary in Qatar as a clerk. Upon arrival, Deependra's passport was confiscated and he was taken to an industrial area where he was forced to undertake manual labour. Due to the Kafala system in Qatar, Deependra was committed to his contract and was unable to leave the country. After completing his 2-year agreement Deependra managed to convince his employer to allow him to go home for 2 weeks to see his family. Once back in Nepal, Deependra informed his manager that he would not be returning.

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Geeta K

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. According to Human Rights Watch, thirty-seven percent of girls in Nepal marry before age 18 and 10 percent are married by age 15, in spite of the fact that the minimum age of marriage under Nepali law is 20 years of age. UNICEF data indicates that Nepal. Geeta says she was either ten or twelve years old when she got married. After about eight years of marriage, she has a seven-year-old daughter, a five-year-old son, and a three-year-old son.

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Goma

Goma was enslaved in her home country of Nepal as a teenager, after running away with friends to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. She was made to weave carpet without pay and beaten when she asked for the money she earned. According to the Global Slavery Index, within Nepal, forced labour and debt bondage persist, particularly within the agriculture, forestry, construction, and manufacturing sectors. Many Nepalese are trapped into exploitative situations by borrowing money from lenders, who then force borrowers to work to repay their debt. As in Goma’s case, those in debt bondage do not have the freedom to work for another employer without the landlord’s permission, and are subjected to working long hours for wages below the minimum wage. Individuals who eventually pay off their debt are at risk of falling back into modern slavery, due to limited alternative job opportunities. Studies also indicate that forced marriage and the marriage of those under 15 years old continues.

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Kamala

In Nepal, poverty forces people to seek work overseas to provide for themselves and their desperate families. Migration across the border is unsafe and uncontrolled, which is how Kamala was trafficked and forced into slavery. It is estimated that there are over four million domestic workers in India. The domestic sector is informal and unregulated, obscured in private homes, and workers are not recognised as such but rather as ‘informal help’. Their wages are, on average, only a third of those in other sectors, they have very limited social protections, and commonly suffer poor working conditions, exploitation, abuse and slavery. Many domestic workers are migrants from poorer states and are among the most marginalised and socially discriminated populations in India.

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Kamala B

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault.  Kamala was looking for work to sustain her family when she decided to travel to Lebanon. While she was treated well initially, her employer became abusive, locked her in the house and  forced her to work long hours with no breaks and no pay. 

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Kumar

Men and women from throughout Asia and East Africa who migrate to Iraq are subjected to forced labor as construction workers, security guards, cleaners, handymen, and domestic workers. Some foreign migrants are recruited for work in other countries in the region but are forced, coerced, or deceived into working in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. In January 2016, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reported approximately 140,000 foreign workers lacked formal work permits. Kumar, a father of two, left his home village in Nepal for Jordan after promises of a well-paid job abroad. Kumar told the UN Human Rights Council that he nearly died as he together with 12 others were transported through two countries in a convey of vans to a military base in Iraq.

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Laboni

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street.Laboni* was sent to an orphanage after her parents could no longer afford to look after her. At the orphanage Laboni was forced to do all the housework, being subjected to beatings if she did not do the work properly.

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Manon

Mica is a mineral that provides the sparkling effect in cosmetics and car bodypaint. The mica mining area of Jharkhand/Bihar in India comprises an estimated 300 rural villages, and child labour occurs in these remote villages, including collecting/mining mica and cobbing (hammering minerals other than mica from the mined rocks. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 children are currently working in the mica mines in India, with 90% of these working under illegal conditions of modern slavery. Manon was trafficked from Nepal to India at the age of 6 years old to work in the Mica mine. Forced to work in dangerous conditions, and to watch his best friend die, Manon was finally rescued two and a half years later.

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Maya

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. In 2015, two massive earthquakes hit Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring tens of thousands of others.Maya and her family were left vulnerable after an earthquake and a woman attempted to traffick her from Nepal to India.