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Relief distribution news on freedom collaborative news letter

03 September, 2020

Combating trafficking in Asia: Insights into partner efforts and frontline activities during the global pandemic

AMKAS Nepal launches a mask-making business for returnee migrants, WYESHR discovers a shocking number of underage girls in the sex worker sector, and Winrock International publishes a legal manual for practitioners in Southeast Asia.

WYESHR | Nepal

Women Youth Empowerment in Social Service and Human Right has continued its food and emergency relief distribution efforts throughout the lockdown period in Nepal. In the second phase of distribution, the organization was able to reach out to 500 families in collaboration with The Freedom Fund and Lung Ta Nepal. This distribution solely focused on providing supplies to adult entertainment sector (AES) workers, single mothers, brick factory workers, underprivileged families and female sex workers (FSW). 

While the distribution efforts were very successful, the team was shocked to discover a high number of children under the age of 16, and women over the age of 50, in the FSW sector. This shows that the situation for AES workers in Nepal is much worse than previously reported and that efforts need to be made to support women and children in this group. The following findings demonstrate why more attention must be focused on this sector. In a poll of 50 female sex workers:

  • 20 were victims of child marriage

  • six were suffering from high fever which could have been a symptom of COVID-19

  • Most of the under-aged FSW were prone to trafficking because they were trying to reach various countries by changing their citizenship documents and passports to increase their stated age

  • Child FSW are in great demand so there is a high chance of rape, violence and abuse 

  • Many FSW have children and most are single mothers so their children are also very vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation and COVID-19  

Overall, the team demands that more research be done in this field, especially when it comes to government accountability. While prostitution may be illegal in Nepal, a collaborative effort needs to be made to tackle the problems that arise in this sector, especially when it comes to acknowledging the gravity of the issue.

News published: Freedom collaborative