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.
In my village, girls were not allowed to go to school. All my sisters got married very young. One was only 11. I wanted to go to Kathmandu for further education, but my father was against this.
However, my brother was already in Kathmandu, so I convinced my father to let me go too. My brother got a job in Malaysia, and my father borrowed money from everyone he knew to pay for it. That left us deep in debt.
I went for an interview to join the police. They told me I could get the job if I gave them Rs10,000 ($100). How could I afford that?
Someone who worked with me suggested I start selling drugs. This man proposed that I take drugs to India and I would earn Rs25,000 ($250). I agreed to do it with another girl I worked with.
In India we drove to a place with lots of huts and young Nepali girls with make-up standing around half dressed.
I had heard of girls being trafficked to India, so I refused to go inside. I dropped everything and ran out onto the road. Some women ran after me and brought me back. After that I lost consciousness.
When I came to, I was locked in a small room. I started banging on the door. A Nepali girl came and told me that I was in Kashmir and I had been sold for Rs1.25 lakhs ($1,250).
I learned that I was in a brothel with 25 or 30 other women. “There is no point in getting angry. You have to earn, and then you may be able to leave,” another Nepali girl told me. “If you try to run away, they will catch you and kill you”.
I was beaten up every day by four or five men. I was raped and tortured again and again.
All the time I was plotting my escape. There were guards on the doors, so I pretended to be sick. They brought a rickshaw to take me to hospital. On the way I told them that I was going to vomit, and then I leaped off the rickshaw and ran across a busy road. I lived in a gutter for three days.
I found an office that had pictures of Buddha and Mother Theresa, and asked them for help. It turned out to be an NGO, and they helped me return to Nepal.
When I returned I was ashamed and scared. I had no idea what to do.
With the help of SASANE, I work as a paralegal advisor at a police station. I’ve learned a lot about legal issues and people treat me with respect because I am working with the police.
Narrative provided by Anti-Slavery International