Nepal witnesses rise in sexual abuse and human trafficking post Quakes 

Woman taking care of a newly born baby at a health camp in Sindu Palchowk. Photo By: Gopen Rai/TOT

June 16, Kathmandu: The safety of women living camps after the Earthquakes in Nepal is in peril, due to the failure of the government authorities to give protection to women and children living in camps.

“I cant even send my daughter to the toilets alone, because there are guys lingering around the toilets trying to grab their hands, they are being eve teased,  one guy even threatened my daughter,” said Sushma, (name changed), according to her, her 15 year-old daughter is traumatized and cant even fall asleep properly in the tent they are living in because of the constant fear of being molested.

Just a couple of weeks ago a five year old child had been raped by a 42-year-old man who was living in a tent nearby. According to SP Bishwo Raj Pokharel, spokesperson of Metropolitan Police Range Office, Kathmandu, the five-year-old was allegedly raped by Rakesh Maharjan, 42. Maharjan was also temporarily living in the same football ground where the victim’s family has been living inside tents after the 7.8 Richter scale quake that devastated the country on April 25.

According to him, The man attacked the minor while her parents were away from the makeshift shelter, “The girl was attacked after her father had left the tent to buy medicines and her mother had gone to cook dinner in a kitchen  that had been rented near their camp.” Following loud cries from the child, other people who were sheltering in tents nabbed the accused red-handed and handed him over to police.

Meanwhile, reports of a gang rape of a 20-year-old a few kilometers away from Kathmandu. Like these women that we have mentioned here, there are thousands of women and children living in such camps in the quake affected regions of the country, who, even after two months are forced to live in constant fear of safety. The National Women’s commission has stated that they have come across many women who have been sexually harassed and abused as they are forced to live under tents.

According to the chairperson of the commission, Sheikh Chandtara though there have been claims of protection units being formed to protect women it has not been implements.

“We have even heard of cases where people posing as relief workers and have talked young girls into crossing over to India with them, just to sell them to a brothel,” she said, on national television.She further added the only way human trafficking can be prevented is if the security at the borders are tightened and everyone crossing over is checked.

According to her, though they have reached out to as many people as possibly could they still haven’t been able to reach out to the grass roots so far, and there are lots more women who are in danger. Women and girls have long been trafficked from Nepal and the UN estimates that around 15,000 girls are trafficked abroad, mainly to India and South Korea.

The Oslo Times





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