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India: Prostitution of Nepalese girls rampant

Publish Date: 20 Nov 2005


Prostitution of Nepalese girls rampant in Indian brothel

Kolkata - The prostitution of Nepalese girls aged between 12-18 years remains prevalent in brothels in the Indian cities, according to a study by Switzerland based Voluntary organization 'Terre des hommes Foundation'.

''Despite the efforts of the police in Mumbai and Kolkata the prostitution of Nepalese children remain prevalent in the brothels,'' the study pointed out.

''Young girls are trafficked from Nepal to brothels in Mumbai and Kolkata at an average age of twelve. They are trapped into the vicious cycle of prostitution, debt and slavery. By the time they are in their mid-twenties, they are at the dead end or 'cul-de-sac','' the study noted.

''These women were often rejected by their families in Nepal and very few could go back to their homeland due to the stigma of being a sex-worker,'' the recently released report said.

The main aim of the study was to make the NGOs, national and international organisations and government aware about the prevalence of girl child trafficking and methodologies of preventing the phenomenon.

The study was conducted to facilitate social reintegration of the trafficked girl children, especially those who wanted to leave prostitution.

The target groups of the study were selected from brothels in Mumbai and Kolkata.

Apart from the sex-workers, clients, brothel owners and local informants were also interviewed.

The objective of the study was to understand the dynamics of prostitution, especially the Nepalese women, economics and demand forces and the real social and physical blockades faced by these women.

The study also threw light on the impact of the HIV/AIDS on these sex-workers.

HIV/ AIDS have forced many sex-workers to leave Kamathipura in Mumbai, thought to be the epicentre of HIV/AIDS, the study observed.

''The outcome of the report had been disturbing as even after winning freedom from the shackles of the brothel owners, all of the women eventually returned to sex-work,'' said Reinhard Fichtl, delegate of the Terre de homes, Nepal.

The report pointed out that the brothel base sex-work had a long history in Mumbai going back to 17th century. However, there had been significant changes in prostitution in Mumbai.

''HIV/AIDS had been devastating with HIV-positive rate of sex-workers in central Mumbai being 60 per cent. Business in the old brothel areas of Kamathipua and Khetwadi/Falkland area has diminished due to client fear of HIV/AIDS and police raids on the brothels,'' it observed.

In Mumbai the dominant populations of the brothels include girls form Karnataka, Nepal and Bangladesh, it added.

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