Sixteen-year old Priyanka is from Beni, a municipality in the western hills of Nepal. As members of an underprivileged community, Priyanka’s parents struggled to provide financially for their family of six. To earn additional income for the family, Prinyanka and her sister moved to Kathmandu for work.
After arriving in Kathmandu, Prinyanka searched for a job, but was not able to find any opportunities. She asked one of her friends to help her find a job. This friend was working in a duet song performance bar, and suggested that Priyanka come to work with her. Accepting her offer, Priyanka, at 12, began working as a dancer at the bar in Kathmandu with her sister.
Although they were working, both Priyanka and her sister were eager to continue their education. However, their family could not afford to send both sisters to school. Priyanka decided to continue working so that her older sister could attend morning classes at a local public school. Despite her decision to prioritise her sister’s education above her own, Priyanka never lost her desire to attend school.
At the end of 2016, outreach workers from Freedom Fund partner YST Nepal began meeting with Priyanka after another project participant introduced to her to the organisation. YST is a non-profit organization that seeks to combat all forms of discrimination against women and children. YST’s Freedom Fund project aims to prevent and reduce the number of minors engaged in commercial sex work, whether in the adult entertainment sector or other parts of the sex industry.
Through support from YST’s outreach workers, Priyanka felt empowered to leave her work and attend school full-time. YST provided her a scholarship for the academic year and March of 2017, so that Priyanka could afford to enrol in grade eight. Priyanka plans to continue her schooling in the future and no longer works at the bar.
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