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Alina’s story

November. 21, 2017 / Blog The Freedom Fund / @freedom_fund

Alina*, 16, is the oldest of three children. Since the age of 11, Alina has been working as a waitress in a dance bar and living with an acquaintance from her village.

Alina was just five years old when she began working as a domestic child labourer in the house of a relative. She was regularly beaten and eventually moved to another house where she worked all day and night and received no education. After the death of her mother, Alina lacked the motivation to work. As a result, the family she worked for began to treat her poorly and she started to experience various health issues. Her father moved her to work for another family upon learning about her neglect. However, he did not help Alina seek medical treatment for her health issues. Alina became depressed, unable to express her feelings to anyone.

When Alina was 11 years old, she was recruited by a former neighbour to start working as a waitress in a dance bar. Initially, she earned NRS 700 (USD $7) each month. However, her former neighbour would confiscate her salary and physically abuse Alina. When the owner learned about this situation, he moved her to another bar. However, Alina still had to send the majority of her income home to her father and she was not able to save for herself in order to advance her own position in life.

Alina came into contact with Freedom Fund partner Biswas Nepal through outreach activities, and she was assisted to withdraw from the adult entertainment sector. Biswas Nepal is a member organisation made up of sector workers that advocates against injustice, exploitation and violence faced by women and girls. The goal of Biswas’ 2016-2017 Freedom Fund project is to reduce the involvement of minors in industries in which commercial sexual exploitation is prevalent, predominantly in the adult entertainment sector.

Initially, Biswas gave Alina health and psychosocial services as it was clear that she had experienced severe sexual exploitation. As Alina began to open up about her past experiences, Biswas learned that she was preparing to travel abroad with the assistance of traffickers who were forging her documents to hide that she was underage.

Alina has shown some positive changes since she started visiting Biswas. She presents as happier, with greater self-confidence. Alina actively participates in activities and services offered by Biswas, and she is interested in sharing what she has learned with others in similar situations. She continues to explore the idea of traveling abroad, and Biswas has provided her with information about safer migration and the risks of exploitation. The Biswas team continues to support Alina’s recovery as she pursues a better life.

*Name changed to protect the identity of the victim.

Our partners in central Nepal work to reduce the number of children at risk of commercial sexual exploitation in the adult entertainment industry. They’re helping to prevent children from entering the industry, remove children from situations of exploitation and ending their recruitment. Find out more about the Freedom Fund’s Central Nepal Hotspot.

Photo credit: Katie Orlinksy, Legatum Limited, 2017