Nepal’s Dark Secret

nepalHuman trafficking occurs allover the world and every second, another person falls victims to a part in the process. There are a few different types of human trafficking. Some of those include, marriage, bonded, servitude, and sex slavery. Each one of those has its implications for legislation and for how each of the people are treated. It also affects where the people that are trafficked into this industry and transported to. For Nepal, the country had started out in mostly trafficking for brothels and sex slavery, but has gradually grown into another monster business in the country.

Nepal has been dealing with the trafficking involved with brothels since the beginning of the institution. The business of forcing men, women, and sometimes children, into sex slavery has been a successful enterprise for some people who have little to nothing. Nepal’s government has been working towards making legislation to combat the issue but the terms are vague and the business is so underground, it is hard to find people to prosecute.

The reason that it is so had to find the people that are responsible for trafficking humans is in part because of the victims inability to self proclaim their victim status. There are a number of reasons that victims that have either escaped or been rescued, do not outright point to their captors for a few different reasons. Some of those reasons include fear for themselves and fear for their families. There is severe psychological trauma in some of the victims, which makes the situation even more complex. Family is extremely important to the people in Nepal, as it is in most other places around the world and the severe measures that the traffickers manipulated the peoplein order to take them away from their families is traumatic.

There is also the aspect of families either selling their family members because they cannot financially take care of them any more. This is an act of desperation and loving parents and family members being duped into service that they do not understand all of the terms that they are agreeing to. Full of false pretenses and paperwork that turns out to be falsified. Taken far away from their homes, the people that were trafficked have no other choice but to work for their captors because they are all alone and very far from home. Sometimes they are promised a new start in a new country but this ends of being a form of bonded servitude. It is somewhat equivalent to indentured slavery that happened way back in the 1800’s. People were told that they would have transportation for a new life for only a couple years of “employment” by the people that are helping them. This turns out to be not the case at all.

Along with family members issuing the people into the service, some of the people are lured into it under false pretenses. They are offered jobs and opportunities abroad that they would otherwise not be given under their circumstances. These jobs, they are told are low labor jobs like house keeping and things of that nature. Sometimes they do turn out to be those jobs, but for the most part the jobs actually turn out to be places of hard labor or sex slavery. The people come to learn that they cannot leave these jobs because the people that offered them these jobs are actually traffickers that will not let them leave. They psychologically threaten them with death and the death of their families if they do not comply with what the traffickers want.

In Nepal, this business has progressed even further than bonded labor and sex slavery. Nepal has become a hub of transportation and recruitment of human trafficking. The country is now a gateway to the rest of Asia and also into Africa. This is a stop onto the other places that the traffickers and their victims are going through. It used to be more localized and only a problem that Nepal had to deal with internally. That is not the case anymore, since the past decade or so that is. This has grown into a transnational issue that many nations, including Nepal of course, need to address in order to make some change. Since this problem is not exclusive to Nepal, it will spread and then the traffickers are free from prosecution once they leave the country that is bringing them up on charges. Transnational organization and criminal tribunals are not always successful in these types of endeavors, but it is not enough for only one singular country to be dealing with this issue, when it affects multiple countries and millions of people, whether they be victims or perpetrators. The countries need to work together to come up with a cohesive plan that not only details how to detect the trafficking and stop it but how to also prevent it from continuing and spreading even more rampantly around the world. This is not to say that Nepal is the origin of al of these trafficking and slavery problems, but it does contribute to the problem but having lax laws like the rest of the countries do as well, does not help the situation get any better than it was before. There needs to be a concentrated effort to end this horrific business and trade that is happening right under every one’s noses. People and governments know about this epidemic,but not a whole lot is being done for the most part. There just simply needs to be more effort and concentration on this issue. Slavery was supposed to have ended a couple hundred years ago, yet it is still rampant in the world. Slavery and forced labor is one of the fundamental human rights that most countries tend to agree on, but it is happening at a frequency that is alarming and disturbing for a world that claims it is adamantly against this type of thing against other human beings.

It is not all dark and gloomy for the world and for Nepal though. The country has indeed put a few things into the works. They have also instituted things into the government that helps in bringing up the perpetrators on charges. So now that there have been more things put into place that make it even harder to get away with, this might prevent some of the traffickers from doing this business to avoid the consequences. Most people do not want to end up in jail, and in jail with long sentences, which is what they would be facing if they were to be caught and brought up on chargers.

There is work being done of the legal side of things, but a more important issue that the country is trying to deal with is the after effects of the trauma that the men, women, and children go through when they go through human trafficking and labor. The country of Nepal has set aside a substantial amount of money and care to the building and maintaining facilities that help the people to be counseled and a safe place for the people go go after they have been through this. The main focus is on the women that get out of the brothels and the sex industry that they were trafficked into. This is a great thing for those women. It should be further expanded to help the men and children that come out of it as well, but progress is sometimes slow and sure to catch up in time.

Activism to pressure and to learn knowledge about these issues to help solve the problems is something that public anthropology can be utilized to do. There is still much to be learned about the dynamics of not only the human trafficking, sex slavery, bonded labor, and servitude in Nepal but also the rest of the world and how to eventually combat it. Learning and theorizing in how to end this horrible thing is exactly what this issue and what the entire world needs in order to become a better place. The more that people know about this issue, the more pressure is put on not only governments but also large corporations that are allowing the type of forced labor to happen around the world. Activism against this things is very needed to combat this awful thing that is happening while people ignore it. Some of it is ignorance or the thinking that it is not happening to them closely, but it is happening all over and in places like the United States and also in Nepal. Anthropology can be utilized to take these issues and make them non existent in the current world. Then the world will truly be slavery free and at least people will have that one single human right fulfilled for them and for their families, communities, and countries. This can all be possible, and from seeing the case study from Nepal, there are clear steps (prevention, legislation and rehab) to take to make sure that those things happen soon.


Skylar Teal

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