BBC World Service interviewed RMF Nepal Program Program Coordinator, Barsha Dharel on April 24, 2016. Please follow the link above to listen to the interview. The Barsha Dharel interview, conducted by David Deng, starts around 46:20 mark. Below is a transcript of the interview.
David Deng: The devastating earthquake that shook Nepal last year has come and gone, but the aftershock is far from over. Twelve months on, the destruction that overtook the nation has left thousands desperate to find the means to survive whatever the circumstances. I’ve been speaking to Barsha Dharel who is a Program Coordinator for Real Medicine Foundation in Nepal, it has just published a report saying that lost children from the earthquake have been captured and trafficked into modern day slavery.
Barsha Dharel: Every year we have around 10,000 Nepalese women and children that are sold or they are trafficked to India alone. Around 100,000 to 200,000 Nepalese girls and women are in India, in the brothels. So we are already in a very vulnerable zone, and especially after the earthquake. The children, they were separated from their families, they lost their parents, and those who were already in an economically deprived situation lost their homes. So the poverty resulted in them being more vulnerable.
David Deng: So, do I understand that there are two things happening here? On the one hand you have traffickers stealing children, and then on the other hand you also have families that sell off their kids?
Barsha Dharel: Yes, that’s what we understand. Yes.
David Deng: Could you explain that to me a bit more?
Barsha Dharel: So we already have a very systematic gangs operating in the area and after the disaster, it pushed people into further poverty. So that resulted in the kids, those who lost their parents, being lured into education abroad or being taken away illegally across the border and to different other countries. And in some circumstances, where the parents have no option but to have a transaction with the operating gangs.
David Deng: And some of these children are quite young, five or six years old?
Barsha Dharel: Yes.
David Deng: Tell me about some of the examples that you’ve encountered.
Barsha Dharel: For exampled, on 21st May last year, there was a case where eleven boys and nine girls from a district called Dolakha, which is a very severally earthquake effected district, were being trafficked and they were intercepted by the police, so they could not traffic the children. But they were actually being trafficked to other countries to work as a domestic labor, like unpaid servants.
David Deng: And which countries are these that they are sent to?
Barsha Dharel: Yeah, I mean, our initial understanding what that India, because we share an open border with India. So it was not very surprising to us. But when we found out that the kids are being sold as far away to the U.K., that was something quite surprising.
David Deng: As far away as U.K.?
Barsha Dharel: Yeah.
David Deng: What sort of action would you like to see take place?
Barsha Dharel: Unpaid labor is a modern day slavery, and we require everyone to come together so that we can save our children.
David Deng: Barsha Dharel, a Program Coordinator for Real Medicine Foundation in Nepal.
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