THE EDGE ON THE INDIA- NEPAL BORDER
Children in brothel communities are cut off from education and at risk of being drawn into prostitution
Few people are aware that the India-Nepal border is one of the largest corridors for human trafficking on the planet. While the outside world pays little notice, the problem has reached endemic proportions with an estimate of nearly 200,000 Nepalis having already been trafficked into India.
The vast majority of these victims are women and children who are subjected to forced labour, prostitution, and sexual abuse. The porous, 400-mile-long border between southern Nepal and Bihar, one of India’s poorest states, is an ideal environment for traffickers to operate within. There has been a further spike in the trafficking of women and children since the devastating April 2015 earthquake in Nepal.
Each year an estimated 7,000-10,000 women and children are trafficked through Bihar, many ending up in de facto slavery in Bihar’s red-light zones. With nearly a quarter of those trafficked below the age of 16, the situation is particularly grave for children. Currently, the precedent for young girls in these communities is to follow their mothers into prostitution.
WHAT WE ARE DOING TO HELP
Through training and care, children have the support and knowledge to pursue alternative options to the sex trade.
Together with Tatvasi Samaj Nyas (TSN), we have established two Education Centres in two of Bihar’s most prominent red light areas. The government will not run schools in these places, so the centres provide training and care to some of India’s most vulnerable children. By offering basic education about their value and rights, the hope is that children will explore alternative options to the sex trade.
Currently, the main activity is a sewing programme equipping 30 young women with skills to support themselves, providing a practical means to leave the red-light area. The programme also offers non-formal education in subjects like maths and literacy to over 60 school-aged children.
Teachers are trained to create a safe and caring environment where children are free to express themselves, emphasising the intrinsic value of each child, as migrants or members of the Dalit caste often feel scorned by society.
Our aim is to strengthen the current small-scale education provision, build up resources for the sewing programme and link TSN with our partners in Patna to share ideas and best practice.