Nepal is home to 29 million people, with children younger than 15 years old making up more than 40% of the population. It includes ethnic and caste groups with distinct cultures and languages. More than one in three people in Nepal live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 per day. Children are especially vulnerable. Gender and social discrimination deepens the vulnerability of girls and dalits. Many children face violence, abuse, exploitation and trafficking. In Nepal adolescent girls identify sexual harassment in their communities and in schools as the biggest concern in their lives.
Although Nepal has always been a source for trafficking, the 2014 earthquakes have increased the vulnerability of children and women multi-fold. In the aftermath of the earthquakes trafficking of children increased, both internally and to India. The Nepali government has expressed its concern about trafficking incidences, as they expect the numbers to further increase as a result of declining economic and livelihood opportunities, infrastructural damage, and accompanied increased vulnerability of marginalised families.
Our unsafe migration programme in Nepal aims to reach children that migrated along with their parents, that have been left alone, that moved alone in search of employment or have been trafficked, especially overseas. The defend the rights of these children and make sure that they get access to government services. We developed a model to put a stop to unsafe migration, enhance the skills of these children to give them an opportunity for better employment and to integrate them into the education system. We also work to improve the prosecution of traffickers in Nepal. In cooperation with the government we improve the services that vulnerable children and their family need.
Child sexual abuse and exploitation is a serious challenge for any society, but particularly for Nepal where cases are rarely reported and often kept undercover. The growth of sex-tourism, including traveling child sex offenders, has been increasingly noted in Nepal, catering primarily to demand from foreign tourists, mostly from India and Europe. Though prostitution is illegal in Nepal it is prevalent in urban areas, and as many as 12,000 young girls are trafficked to brothels within the country and in India.
Our programme covers eight touristic locations in all four sides of the country to safeguard children from potential vulnerabilities through comprehensive interventions. These interventions are a combination of prevention, service delivery to victims of sexual exploitation, lobby and advocacy and prosecution of perpetrators. For prevention of such abuses, interventions, such as awareness to highly vulnerable communities, sensitisation of relevant stakeholders in the tourism industry, and mass awareness through radio channels are planned. Identified victims will be supported with care, shelter, medical and legal assistance. Close coordination and necessary capacity building to law enforcement officials will be extended for speedy prosecution of offenders. Continuous engagement with government officials will bring out new policies to combate sexual exploitation of children.