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I have been to hell: rescued Nepalese girls and women’s experiences of trafficking to brothels in India
Kathmandu Medical College, Nepal.
Linköping University, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Gender and medicine. Linköping University, Faculty of Health Sciences. Östergötlands Läns Landsting, Center of Paediatrics and Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping.
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2012 (English)In: GEXcel work in progress report. Vol. 12,: Proceedings from GEXcel theme 7: Getting rid of violence : TRANSdiciplinary, TRANSnational and TRANSformative feminist dialogues on embodiment, emotions and ethics : Autumn 2010 / [ed] Barbro Wijma, Alp Biricik and Ulrica Engdahl, Linköping: Institute for Thematic Gender studies, Linköping University , 2012, 101-115 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The interview study described in this chapter was performed in cooperation with two Nepalese non government organizations called Community Action Nepal (CAC Nepal) and Shakti Samuha. Informants were eight trafficking survivors who were independently living in various parts of Kathmandu Valley and six trafficking survivors who were currently staying at a rehabilitation centre. After being rescued, five of the informants now earned their living as prostitutes, one was a housewife, one had her own shop, and five were at a rehab centre. Most of the informants had been tricked into being trafficked. The most commonly used bait was a nice job in Kathmandu or abroad with a good salary, which would allow the informant to buy 'nice clothes' and eat 'good food'. To this need to be added that the migration decision of the informants (which turns out to be trafficking) takes place in an interface between economic hardships, the informant’s own desire for better work and a better life, and pressure on her to assist sustaining her family.The trafficker was most often a known person, male or female, who had spent time and efforts in building a good relationship with the informant before taking off for the ‘good job’. Life at the brothel was described as a prison, where the informants instantly and at any time of the day and night had to obey the brothel owner (who often was a woman, and sometimes Nepalese), and her 'guards' (male or female). If they refused or did not act accordingly they were severely punished often by physical means. The informant’s life was reduced into one purpose ‘how to satisfy brothel’s customers’. The owners of the brothels were usually sitting at the main entrance and other guards were always around. The doors were always locked when the informants had some time off. Most informants had not been allowed to leave the house, and a few of them did not understand where they were until they later on could ask someone.The relief of finally returning home to Nepal was often clouded by difficulties. Only one of the informants could go directly back home to her family. She was well accepted by her husband and in-laws, but she had to face a lot of resistance from other community members. Later on she decided to leave her husband, as she realized that he was also to blame for her being trafficked.The informants revealed that their experiences while being trafficked were usually kept a secret during and after trafficking. According to several studies, the trauma of having been trafficked is often complicated by societal refusal upon return from the brothels. Survivors know who the traffickers are, but their reputation for cruelty and the failure of the police and legal system to enforce the law, contribute to creating an attitude that there is no point in making official reports.A puzzling fact is finally presented: during the last two decades Nepal has made great improvements in designing anti-trafficking programmes and implementing new anti-trafficking laws. Yet, trafficking seems to have become an increasing problem in Nepal during the same period. This poses an urgent challenge on both researchers and society.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Institute for Thematic Gender studies, Linköping University , 2012. 101-115 p.
, Tema Genus report series, ISSN 1650-9056 ; 12
Keyword [en]
Sex role, Gender identity
Keyword [sv]
Genus (socialt kön, Våld -genusaspekter, Genusforskning, Sexuella övergrepp, Genus, Våld- hemmet
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-81637ISBN: 978-91-7519-962-7OAI: diva2:555358
Available from: 2012-09-19 Created: 2012-09-19 Last updated: 2014-11-27Bibliographically approved

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Wijma, BarbroSwahnberg, Katarina
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Gender and medicineFaculty of Health SciencesDepartment of Gynaecology and Obstetrics in Linköping
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