22 February 2018

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03/08/2017 NEPAL

Kathmandu: Catholic activists slam the trafficking of enslaved women

The victims are sold for organs or as sex slaves for militant Islamists. Women from Nepal’s Tamang, Rai Thakuri ethnic groups are particularly at risk because of their "fair and beautiful" skin. The government's work is affected by the problem’s links to organised crime. Various women’s groups organised activities and events to mark the day.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - In order for International Women's Day to be really meaningful, the exploitation and trafficking of women must end, this according to several Nepali Catholic women's rights advocates.

They note that more and more Nepali women are exploited as sex slaves and in organ trafficking. The National Human Rights Commission has reported in fact that at least 16,000 women have been rescued from trafficking in the last 16 years, while 13,000 were trafficked in a number of countries.

"Women trafficking has changed," said Chandrasekhar Aadikari, a journalist who reports on women. "Before women were sold in India and China as prostitutes, but today hundreds of Nepali women are used by Islamist militants as 'comfort women' or human shields.”

"According to media reports, 300 women are serving as sex slaves in Syria alone,” mostly from ethnic minorities such as the Tamang, Rai, or Thakuri who are at risk because of their "fair and beautiful skin”.

Indeed, because of their skin complexion Nepali women have become victims of this traffic, said National Women Commission President Shesh Chandtara. "Their fair skin is loved by many around the world,” she explained, people who are “eager for skin surgery."

However, for Sujata Rai, a Catholic activist, for women “There are several other problems including domestic violence, superstitious traditional practices and unemployment among others”.

It is especially "intolerable" that whilst the world marks International Women's Day, thousands are condemned to a hellish life in prostitution dens. Only when all this is ended can this day be one of joy.

For another activist, Renu Rajvandari, the role played by religion is important. If Catholic teachings are good for the family, Islam and Hinduism, with their oppressive traditions, are a problem.

Meanwhile, the government is doing everything possible, said Minister of Women, Children, and Social Welfare Kumar Khadka, but solving the problem requires time, the more so given its links to organised crime.

“We understand the situation,” he noted. “Only few elite women are celebrating this day. Thousands more are crying and suffering whilst we celebrate this day. Collective efforts are needed to solve the problem.”

According Bishnu Lamsal, chief secretary at the same ministry, "We have legal instruments against such trafficking but it is hard to put them into practice because of low awareness."

Many women’s rights groups are marking the day through various activities and events. For its part, the Government of Nepal has declared it a public holiday.

See also

13/03/2008 SRI LANKA
Women from every ethnic group together to demand an end to the war
Twenty-six organisations come together to slam the harm the civil war has had on women’s lives. More than 50,000 widows, both Tamil and Sinhala, are without protection and work, victims of sexual abuse.

07/03/2008 TURKEY
For Turkish women the veil hides marginalisation
Despite being half of the active workforce, women are victims of family violence, arranged marriages, marginalisation on the job, and illiteracy. A rally is planned for tomorrow in favour of a truly secular state.

07/03/2014 PAKISTAN
Faisalabad: hundreds of "white ribbons" to protest against violence against women
On the eve of International Women's Day, hundreds of people march to demand an end to abuse in all its forms. They appeal to the government for "new laws" to protect women, who are discriminated in the family and the workplace. This battle is "cultural" as well as societal in a country that does not fully recognise equal rights for women.

28/12/2011 EGYPT
Egyptian civil court: virginity tests on female prisoners illegal
The ruling comes after the complaint of a young activist, captured in March in the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Together with six others, the girl was forced to undergo a test in front of some officials. Egyptian blogger arrested during the Coptic massacre of 9 October .

17/12/2011 PAKISTAN
Women, the first victims of Taliban violence in Pakistan's tribal areas
A report published by the Human Rights NGO Khwendo Kor documents cases of abuse, including honour killings, rapes, mutilations and acid attacks. Government inertia gives extremists control of Fata. Vicar of Faisalabad: punish practices against women. Muslim Activist: united against violence.

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