Maya was 16 when her parents asked her to leave their home in search of work in Kathmandu. Her village in Sindhupalchowk was destroyed by the 2015 earthquake and her family was desperate to earn income. She arrived in Kathmandu and found it easy to get work in the guesthouses of Gongabu. Maya worked as an “all-rounder”: cooking, dish-washing, cleaning and providing room services. After some time, she found work in a new guesthouse where the expectations were different. The owner forced her to have sex with customers and work 10-hour shifts. Maya felt that she was unable to quit and that she had no other options.
Freedom Fund partner Shakti Samuha’s outreach workers began to notice Maya and started to form a relationship with her. Upon learning about her situation, they tried to intervene with the guesthouse owner. He denied that he had forced her to do anything, claiming that she should be grateful that he had given her work. Shakti Samuha also tried to involve the police, but they were non-responsive. Slowly, Shakti Samuha outreach workers continued to provide counselling and support to Maya. She eventually found the strength to leave the guesthouse and Shakti Samuha assisted her to return to her parents and her home village.
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 Orlinsky, Legatum Limited, 2018.