The Growth of Sex Trafficking in Nepal
Carrie Oden Global Studies Program at St. Cloud State University Dr. Mikhail Blinnikov Geography and Planning Department
According to CIA World Factbook, Nepal is one of the poorest and least
developed countries in the world (GDP PPP/capita of $2400, #197th in the
world). The country has suffered years of an unstable government and poor
economy. Nepali people are desperate for jobs, food, and an overall increase
of quality of life. Desperate for better lives, many young Nepali girls are
unknowingly sold into sex trade. Girls are often transferred to India because
Nepal and India have an open border. Traffickers target young women that are
poor, uneducated, and jobless. It is hard to pinpoint the root of the problem
because of the lack documentation and research done on the issue. I
interviewed several Nepali students that attend St. Cloud State University to
gain a perspective on the issue of sex trafficking in their home country. In my
research I demonstrate the significance of community attitudes in framing the
1. Traffickers target families in rural communities. They make promises such as:
money, food, good paying jobs, and marriage.
2. Transportation is easier if the girls trust the traffickers . Traffickers are often
able to train the girls on what to say if stop at the border. Other times girls are
drugged and taken from their homes in the middle of the night.
3. Girls are often taken to India or larger cities in Nepal. Once there they are
either sold for an agreed price or are auctioned. Younger girls and virgins are
consider the most valuable and are sold for the most.
• 80% of Nepali population lives in rural areas.
• Nearly half of all households has one member working abroad
• In 2008 estimated 26,574 women and girls were trafficked across the
• Estimated 54 girls are trafficked into India everyday
• Males are twice more likely to attend school than females
Facts About Nepal
There are several Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that are at the
front of this fight against sex trafficking. One of the more popular ones is
Maiti Nepal, who receive international attention in 2010 when founder
Anuradha Koirala received CNN Hero of the year. Maiti Nepal realizes that
there is no one solution to stop sex trafficking. The NGO works in three parts:
Prevention, Rescue, and Rehabilitation.
Prevention: There are 14 check points along the Nepal and India Border. Maiti
along with other NGOs created more unofficial check points along the border
to improve security and to prevent girls from slipping by. Matit Nepal has also
created outreach programs to go out to rural communities and educate
people on the dangers of sex trafficking. The NGO also trains local law
enforcement, government officials, and students on gender based violence
and sex trafficking.
Rescue: Once girls are rescued they are brought to live in a transit home.
Transit homes are safe shelters where girls are able to receive immediate
medical attention , counsel, legal help, and are able to contact family. Maiti
Nepal also works closely with police to help track down girls and their
Rehabilitation: This is a key part for victims, this is the part where they leave
behind who they are and transform into who they want to be. Girls who
aren’t able to return to their homes, they are taken to live in safe houses.
There they are able to receive medical attention, counseling, legal help,
education, and income training skills. During rehabilitation Maiti Nepal
continues to work with families of the victims in hopes of reuniting
Is There a Solution?
During the course of my research I was able to interview several Nepali
women that are attending graduate school at St. Cloud State University. Every
woman mentioned during the interview that although their country is in
desperate need for jobs and money, what their country really needs is
education. Basic literacy will open doors for better job opportunities and help
improve the economy. If more education is offered, the country will be able to
move towards developing and slow down the brain drain. I conclude that
although poverty is a factor in sex trafficking, it is just one of many. Several
factors that aid the growth of sex trafficking are lack of government
implementation of sex trafficking laws, lack of education, traditional gender
roles, and the high demand for girls.
Process of Sex Trafficking
What is Sex Trafficking?
The definition of human trafficking according to the UN Trafficking Protocol is:
"Trafficking in persons' shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer,
harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or
other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, or the abuse of
power or of a position of vulnerability  or of the giving or receiving or
benefits to achieve the consent of person having control over another person,
for the purpose of exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of
sexual exploitation , forced labor or services, slavery, or practices similar to
slavery [with footnote on illegal adoptions], servitude or the removal of
organs. . . "(2000).
“Our culture is male driven, being born as a girl means you
will cost your family money, money they already don’t have”.
–SCSU Nepali Student
“It’s hard to be happy when everyone’s main concern is
money. My family wasn’t rich but we had money. I was able
to go to school, then college, and now I am getting my
Masters. I’m scared to think where I would be if my family
didn’t have money”.
–SCSU Nepali Student
1. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/np.html
2. :: Home :: A Society Free From Trafficking Of Children & Women. (2013, January 1). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from
3. Anuradha Koirala nominated for CNN Heros. Retrieved April 15, 2015, from
4. How 3 Angels Nepal help stop human trafficking | You can help. (n.d.). Retrieved April 15, 2015, from
5. Photos (1) &(2) Photograph By: Wayne Hanrahan
“Sex trafficking is continuing to grow because there is a
demand for it, which means there is money”.
–SCSU Nepali Student
“When a girl is not longer pure, she is a burden rather than an
– SCSU Nepali Student
“The Nepali government puts no resources into stopping sex
trafficking, because they believe it’s a women’s problem”.
–SCSU Nepali Student
Photo (1) Photo (2)