Preda Deutsch Website


October 15, 2000 · 


by Sutthida Malikaew

The trafficking of children for sexual purposes is an immense problem in South Asian countries. Bangladesh and Nepal are the dominant source countries for trafficking within the region. Estimates vary, but a safe estimation is that several thousand Bangladeshi girls are trafficked out of the country each year. Destination countries include India, Pakistan and the Gulf States. In Nepal, 5000-7000 girls are trafficked out of the country each year, primarily to India. It is estimated that Nepalese children constitute 20% (40,000) of the estimated 200,000 Nepalese prostitutes in India. Girls as young as seven years are trafficked from economically depressed neighbourhoods in Nepal and Bangladesh, to the major prostitution centres of Mumbai, Calcutta, and Delhi. In Mumbai, an estimated 90 percent of sex workers started when they were under 18 years of age; half are from Nepal. A similar propile is believed to exist in Calcutta, though Bangladesh surpasses Nepal as the primary source of children for Calcutta.

India and Pakistan, aside from being destination countries, are also significant source and transit countries. Many child prostitutes in the brothels of Indiis major cities come from rural villages and they are trafficked under the same guise as children from Bangladesh and Nepal. Indian and Pakistani female children are trafficked to the Middle East and Europe, often forced into being sex slaves. This is similar for the Bangladeshi and Nepalese children who pass through India and Pakistan en route to the Middle East and the West.

The reasons leading to the occurrence and rise in trafficking are common to all the South Asian countries. Poverty, lack of education, and the status of females and children from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are all contributory factors. Lured by promises of good jobs or marriage, trafficking victims are frequently forced into debt bondage outside of the country.


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