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Grassroots Men and Children Speak Out - Women's Empowerment is Progress for All!

“COFAPRI is truly giving power to our wives, daughters, and our sisters and girls in our villages here. This helps them primarily, but it also helps us all with our families." - Bukanda Isaac, DR Congo.

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Nepali girl tells of 5 years in forced sex trade in India

Young Nepali women

Nepali girl tells of 5 years in forced sex trade in India

She is 22-years-old, having been forced from here Kathmandu home when she was only 17. Her family had sold her to a “marriage broker” for a small fee, only $100.

For S, her family thought her future was settled. She would find a husband in India and return with grandchildren in a few years.

But that didn’t happen for this now 22-year-old woman. After four forced abortions and hundreds of “clients” she has finally found a way out of the horrors of the past five years living as a sex worker in northern India.

Driven from home

Her story began after she was driven from her parents’ home in 2007, dressed in her finest attire and expecting, as she had been told, a husband in Varanasi, India, a short drive across the border. But after over 15 hours in the vehicle, she learned quickly that her life was about to change, and not for the better.

“When we got to this house, I was thrown into a room and the door was locked. They gave me food later in the day, but it was just the beginning,” she told Bikyamasr.com while sipping tea at a local women’s shelter run by two Indian women.

When the men who drove her came back, they forced themselves on her.

'I was a virgin'

“I was a virgin and didn’t know what to do. It was horrible. After they finished, I was taken to the bathroom and drenched with water. I couldn’t stop crying,” she continued.

For years, she revealed, she was kept in the room, which had a small mattress. Men would arrive daily and take turns raping her. She was a sex worker.

Last month, however, those running the makeshift “hotel” forgot to lock her window one evening. Jumping from the first floor, she ran off, believing the street was better than her predicament.

After two days, she happened upon the two women, who spoke some Nepali and were able to understand what had happened to her.

“These nice women had treated others like me and they took me in. It was the happiest day of my life,” she said as the tears began to well up. For her, the ordeal was over. Now she wants to stay in India and assist other Nepali women who have been forced into the sex industry against their will.

“People back home turn a blind eye to what our women are forced to do, so I want to make a difference in their lives,” she added.

Tens of thousands trafficked

The number of Nepali women being trafficked into India to work in the sex trade is unknown specifically, but local NGOs have reported the number to be in the tens of thousands.

With little economic support back in Nepal, these women face an uncertain future, but with Indian women like the two in Varanasi pushing local recovery centers, S feels there is hope for women forced into a situation like hers.

“I do believe we can have hope and can help end this horrific experience that I and other girls are forced to go through, but we have to educate and get the police to crackdown,” she said.