Simkhada, Padam, Devkota, Sara, Bissell, Paul and van Teijlingen, Edwin (2013) Sex trafficking in Nepal: A qualitative study of process and context. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 12 (1). p. 817. ISSN 1609-4069

Thousands of Nepalese girls are trafficked to India and other neighbouring countries every year, primarily for sex work and the majority return to Nepal after spending a years in sex trade. The sub-group of Nepalese girls who become involved in sex work via trafficking are the focus of this paper. The aim of this study was to increase understanding regarding the context of sex trafficking, the methods and means of trafficking, living conditions in brothels and survival strategies among trafficked girls.

We conducted 33 in-depth interviews in early 2013 with returned trafficking survivors (n=14) and policy-makers, people working in trafficking related NGOs/INGOs (n=19) in Nepal. All 14 trafficking survivors were recruited in Nepal through the NGO working on trafficking field.

The young girls trafficked from Nepal to India in this study were typically unmarried, illiterate and very young (8 to 14 years at the time of trafficking). The key methods of trafficking were false marriage, fake job offer, and abduction. Among the 14 respondents, some had spent one month and others nearly 5 years in Indian brothels. Respondents were either rescued, escaped or released by brothel owners. Four out of 14 were HIV positive. Most policy makers mentioned that poverty, unemployment and illiteracy are the causes behind the trafficking of young girls. The anti-trafficking interventions need to be considered at a) community level before movement has begun; b) urban centres which are both source and transitory centres for trafficking; c) trafficking level when girls are highly mobile and when they are in brothels; and d) return from trafficking as girls to move back into the community

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