Project India: Hands of Hope

India a 'collection center' for tragic industry

By Brooke Hines
Chart Reporter

Nepali Woman
For some rural Nepali people, it is more convenient to travel to
India than to urban Nepal. One specialist in human trafficking
called India a 'collection center.'

In Bombay alone, more than 50,000 girls are involved in prostitution. Sometimes they are trafficked from Nepal to India, according to Durgesh Kumar Yogi, a specialist in trafficking in Nepal.

“People who are trafficked from Nepal can go to India and the people from the gulf countries collect people from India, he said. “You could say that India is a collection center.”

It is believed that Nepali girls are favored in the sex industry because of their light skin and trusting nature. Some of these girls who are forced, coerced or tricked into sex trafficking are as young as 12 years old.

Yogi, who has worked in the Girl’s Trafficking Division of the Family Planning Association of Nepal (FPAN), described the pains that some trafficked girls suffer after they return to Nepal.

“Some of these are infected with HIV and other STIs and those are returned to Nepal without any support,” he said. “Those girls who are infected with HIV or STIs, they do not want to return home. What they will do there is they have already spoiled their life. In India also, they are involved in forced sexual things.

“After infected, they say,’Go back to your country, we are done with you.’”

The FPAN, a member of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, works to protect the sexual rights of Nepalese people. This includes educating the community and providing a safe haven for people to receive health services. The cross-border trafficking between Nepal and India has posed a challenge for organizations like FPAN.

Some of the women are tricked into marriages, then taken in India.

“They come to Nepal and marry a Nepalese girl, then they sell their lives,” Yogi said. “They do drama: ‘Oh, I love you. I want to be with you. Come with me to India. I will give you so many things. You have nothing here, you have to come with me to India.’ Then, they sell them.”

Yogi said a closed border between Nepal and India is not an option.

“If I have a health problem, I must go to India,” he said. “Because my hometown is nearly 500 kilometers away from Kathmandu, I must go to India.”

Convenience is not the only reason that India draws in Nepalese people; it is also cost effective.

“Some girls or women go to India for the income,” Yogi said. “Some alternatives in their community can produce an income, but there is no opportunity. The currency in Nepal is more expensive than India. That’s why people like to go to India.”

Not only are girls trafficked for sexual exploitation; young boys are also targeted. Yogi described a destination particularly in the Gulf states that create a demand for small, young boys. These are camel races. The boys are used as jockeys on the backs of camels.

“They use these children because the nature of the camel is when the child is crying, the camel increases his speed,” he said.

He went on to explain that because it is sometimes difficult to stay on top of the camel, the child is tied to the side. In some cases, the child is killed. The winning camel typically has the child who is still coherent enough to cry loudly. The audience collects their wagers much like during horse races in the United States. In 2006, UNICEF released a detailed recovery plan for children who are rescued from these situations in the Gulf States.

The September 2009 newsletter from the United Nations Economic and Social Council for Western Asia stated that trafficking of vital organs is also occurring in the Gulf States.