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.
Rakesh’s sister told him she would help him continue his education in Kathmandu. However, upon arrival she took him to a carpet factory where he was physically abused and had his food withheld. He was found by GoodWeave who took him to a transit home and gave him education opportunities.
I had great desire to read further but when I completed the 5th standard my father took me out from the school. For many days I became very sad and upset. Then my mother told me that my elder sister is coming to the village to take me with her to a town and she will help me to continue my education.
One day my sister came in the village and she took me to town but she didn’t enroll me in the school, instead she took me to the carpet factory. My sister asked me to start weaving carpet and forget about going to school otherwise they wouldn’t provide food for me to eat. I became very sad and started to weave the carpet.
I used to be beaten by my sister and the contractor and I wasn’t even provided any food to eat. One day, two members of staff from GoodWeave came to the factory and saw me working in the loom. They asked me about my age and where did I come from, but I didn’t tell them my real age. Because the contractor and my sister had scared me not to tell the truth to any outsiders otherwise, they will take me to another place and forced me to wash dish and also will beat me severely.
But the GoodWeave staff didn’t believe what I told them, and they rescued and admitted me to Hamro Ghar [Our Home]. They said that I am being taken to a place where I will be provided education opportunities. After coming to Hamro Ghar, I found many children like me staying there. When I became familiar with other children at Hamro Ghar I started feeling comfortably and happy.
Narrative provided by and all credit to GoodWeave International.
Original narrative can be found here, starting at 6:12.