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Modern Slavery in Nepal

Updated: Nov 19, 2021

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with its low BNP per capita (157 out of 189), and its low Human Development Index, officially ranked 147 out of 189. The economy in Nepal is fragile, and the labor migration wide. Remittances, meaning financial transactions from migrant workers to the homeland, make up 27% of the country’s BNP - which in turn gives us an idea of the extent of labor migration. The great vulnerability of migration is considered to be one of the main factors

for trafficking; and due to lack of both adequate legal protection or economic opportunities, many migrants unfortunately fall victim to exploitation. The vast majority of trafficking victims in Nepal are women and girls. The modern slavery in Nepal has many differnent forms - from trafficking on a nationwide scale within forced labor (specifically within industries of textile and service), exploitative housework in Gulf states, sexual abuse in Kathmandu, to forced marriages on Korea and China.

The government measures that have been taken are far from enough. The state of Nepal has been working to prevent trafficking both by limiting and prohibiting female migration, which has only led to the women migrating through more dangerous, informal, not to mention illegal ways. These discriminating, counterproductive actions taken by the state of Nepal lack longevity, and have put the women in an even more challenging position - and are therefore not a viable long-term solution. Efforts to raise awareness have also been found to be insufficient. Around 70% of the young women and girls that have experienced forced labor were already aware of the risks at the time of their migration; and all of 88% of young women who plan on re-migrating have already lived through forced labor during their latest migration. This picture clearly illustrates an informed powerlessness, where the lack of autonomy and other alternatives force these girls and women to knowingly expose themselves to these huge risks.

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