Thu, 23 Sep 2021

By Binod Prasad AdhikariKathmandu [Nepal], July 29 (ANI): Many sex workers in Nepal, who found themselves without work during the COVID pandemic, are receiving packets of ration and other assistance from an NGO for integrating them into society.

Maiti Nepal, a non-profit organisation working to prevent human trafficking has been distributing ration packages and some cash to the registered candidates.

Speaking to ANI Wednesday, Kalpa (changed name), one of the commercial sex workers who came to Maiti Nepal to collect monthly rations said their community cannot go to work due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Due to the lockdown and pandemic, we are not able to work. We are facing tough times. With the rations, it becomes easier for us to meet our daily needs," the worker said.

"During the first wave, it was hard for us to survive as the work was running low but it's been a year since we have been receiving support and able to feed our children as rations are provided here," Kalpa added.

As per records, Nepal has a total of 10,845 people directly in this work. Those engaged in this profession directly or indirectly are in the age group of 15 to 65 years.

With pandemic induced lockdown, the life of commercial sex workers has become more miserable rendering them unemployed and vulnerable.

Anuradha Koirala, CNN Hero 2010 and Padma Shri awardee of 2017 who has been working in the field to rescue and prevent human trafficking for over two decades said: "Everybody whom I ask says that they have been brought to Kathmandu from different districts with promises of lucrative jobs and then pushed into becoming sex workers. I also feel it is an internal way of trafficking and I started working for them."Pushed into the profession to trade body for money, the majority of sex workers of Kathmandu want to reintegrate into society by transforming their lives through various means.

Apart from running a non-profit organisation dedicated to help victims of human trafficking and rehabilitate them, Koirala since March of 2020 has been extending help to commercial sex workers.

"Now we have started the program to empower them by providing options. We are providing beauty parlour training among other things. We have given them driving course, training to operate excavator and now we will be distributing one hundred carts on which they can sell vegetables, clothes or anything they want to. We are trying to re-integrate them and it's satisfying that that they want to leave this profession and come into the mainstream," Anuradha Koirala, also known as Mother Teresa of Nepal added.

With World Health Organization's regulation to follow social and physical distancing measures first issued on March 11, 2020, the sex industry that offers physical intimacy had dipped down in the world including Nepal. (ANI)

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