Kanchi* is a teenager from Sindhupalchok in rural Nepal. She is the third of four siblings. Her elder sister has been out of contact for many years and her brother has his own family. Kanchi reports that he does not care for her and her younger sister. When their parents passed away, Kanchi and her sister were left abandoned. Desperate, Kanchi left her village and went to Kathmandu in search of work, so that she could provide for both of them. She started working in a dance bar – a job that she loathed and that exposed her to frequent abuse. Feeling trapped, Kanchi endured the abuse. One time she tried to return home, but her brother badly beat her and threw her out of the house, saying that she had soiled their reputation by working in a dance bar.
Kanchi returned to Kathmandu and was put in touch with a local charity, who supported her to complete her grade ten exams and to find work as a housemaid. Unfortunately, domestic work proved no safer than her previous job. Her employer would call different girls to his house and make them dance and give him massages, including Kanchi. Again, she felt she could not leave the position as she needed the income to provide for her sister. It was during this time that Kanchi became aware of a Freedom Fund partner organisation. When she contacted them and described her exploitative working conditions, staff intervened. Recognising Kanchi’s potential, our partner offered her a job as assistant warden at their shelter. This offered Kanchi not only employment and a place to stay for her and her sister, but also access to counselling and other recovery services. Today, Kanchi is thriving. She is working and continuing her studies.
The Freedom Fund’s central Nepal hotspot aims to radically reduce the number of children in the adult entertainment industry and in commercial sexual exploitation in the Kathmandu valley. Find out more about our Central Nepal hotspot here.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the victim.
Photo credit: Katie Orlinsky, Legatum Limited, 2018.