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Anita D

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Anita D was 19 years old when she took a job as a maid in India. However, upon arrival she discovered she would be forced to work in a brothel. Anita was locked in a room for three years and forced to provide sexual services for up to 40 men a day. Anita tells of the importance of status to survival in the brothel, how she became a madam, and how finding religion showed her the path to freedom.   

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Beli

The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that on any given day there were nearly 8 million people living in modern slavery in India. The GSI 2018 reports an emerging trend in northeast India where organised trafficking syndicates operate along the open and unmanned international borders, duping or coercing young girls seeking employment outside their local area in to forced sexual exploitation. Many women and girls are lured with the promise of a good job but then forced in to sex work, with a 'conditioning' period involving violence, threats, debt bondage and rape.  Beli was 14 years old when she was abducted from her home in Katmandu and forced to work in a brothel in Bombay. Beli was beaten, given little food and had her movement restricted.

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Radhika

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Nepal (GSI 2018). Children are often subjected to forced marriage with 37% of Nepalese girls being married before the age of 18. The 2015 earthquakes devastated the country and left girls and women in an increasingly vulnerable position, leading to fears of increased child marriage rates. Poverty is both a cause and consequence of child marriage in Nepal, along with food insecurity. Moreover the dowry is practiced in many communities, leading parents to marry off their daughters at a younger age to avoid a higher price. Radhika was 17 years old when she met and started dating her boyfriend. Their parents quickly arranged a marriage and Radhika was forced to leave school and abandon her dream of becoming a nurse.

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Manon

Mica is a mineral that provides the sparkling effect in cosmetics and car bodypaint. The mica mining area of Jharkhand/Bihar in India comprises an estimated 300 rural villages, and child labour occurs in these remote villages, including collecting/mining mica and cobbing (hammering minerals other than mica from the mined rocks. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 children are currently working in the mica mines in India, with 90% of these working under illegal conditions of modern slavery. Manon was trafficked from Nepal to India at the age of 6 years old to work in the Mica mine. Forced to work in dangerous conditions, and to watch his best friend die, Manon was finally rescued two and a half years later.

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Mira

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault. Mira decided to look abroad for work after her mother died. Her brother-in-law told her she could do housework in Lebanon and arranged for her travel. However, arrival her passport was taken and upon meeting her employer she learned that she would not be going housework but caring for their mentally ill mother. Unprepared and untrained for such a job, Mira was told she couldn’t leave until her employer’s mother died. She was forced to work in Lebanon for four years before she was allowed the return to Nepal.

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Menuka

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault. Menuka was looking to support her family when she decided to travel from Nepal to Lebanon to find work. Upon arrival in Lebanon, Menuka’s passport was taken from her and she was taken to provide domestic work for a family.

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Savitra

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault.  Savitra was having family problems in Nepal when she decided to go to an agency who acquired her work in Nepal. Upon arrival she went to work as a domestic worker for two different employers, however found it difficult to learn the tasks required of her and was sent back to the agency in Lebanon. Rather than being allowed to return home, Savitra was told she would have to struggle in Lebanon for one or two years to pay back the debt incurred from her travel. While she was eventually placed with a nicer employer who provided her with food, accommodation and clothes, she was still unable to leave her employer’s house

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Maya B

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault.  Maya was forced to work long hours in her employer's house, and in a shop in Lebanon where she was subjected to physical abuse by the people she was living with. After an incident of physical violence Maya was taken back to the agency. Despite repeated attempts to bring her back, Maya refused to return to the house. 

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Kamala B

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union trafficked for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Lebanese children are trafficked within the country for the purpose of forced labour and sexual exploitation. Women from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Ethiopia who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threats, and physical or sexual assault.  Kamala was looking for work to sustain her family when she decided to travel to Lebanon. While she was treated well initially, her employer became abusive, locked her in the house and  forced her to work long hours with no breaks and no pay. 

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Neeta

Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guesthouses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labour in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Neeta went to find work as a waitress to help her family. Upon arrival at the restaurant Neeta was forced to put on provocative clothes and dance naked for customers. One day she was told she was no longer allowed to leave and was forced into prostitution. Neeta was able to escape when her mother sought out the help of an NGO to find her.

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Aakash

Foreign workers constitute more than 20 percent of the Malaysian workforce and typically migrate voluntarily—often illegally—to Malaysia from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other Southeast Asian countries, mostly in pursuit of better economic opportunities. Some of these migrants are subjected to forced labour or debt bondage by their employers, employment agents, or informal labour recruiters when they are unable to pay the fees for recruitment and associated travel. Aakash, 24, from Nepal, became trapped in debt bondage in the electronics industry in Malaysia.

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Deependra

Migrant workers from Asia and Sub-Saharan African continue to flock to the Middle East for work. Migrant workers are subject to practices that may amount to forced labour including extortionate recruitment fees, illegal confiscation of identity documents, withholding and non-payment of salaries, hazardous working conditions, unhygienic living conditions, unlawful overtime performed under the threat of deportation, and physical and sexual abuse. In 2015 an IOM and Walk Free study of 162 exploited migrant workers from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, 100% of workers had their identity documents withheld, 87% were confined to their workplace and 76% had their wages withheld. Deependra Giri was looking for work when he was offered a job with a good salary in Qatar as a clerk. Upon arrival, Deependra's passport was confiscated and he was taken to an industrial area where he was forced to undertake manual labour. Due to the Kafala system in Qatar, Deependra was committed to his contract and was unable to leave the country. After completing his 2-year agreement Deependra managed to convince his employer to allow him to go home for 2 weeks to see his family. Once back in Nepal, Deependra informed his manager that he would not be returning.

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Pramilla

Experts estimate millions of women and children are victims of sex trafficking in India. Traffickers use false promises of employment or arrange sham marriages in India or Gulf States and subject women and girls to sex trafficking. In addition to traditional red light districts, women and children increasingly endure sex trafficking in small hotels, vehicles, huts, and private residences. Traffickers increasingly use websites, mobile applications, and online money transfers to facilitate commercial sex. Children continue to be subjected to sex trafficking in religious pilgrimage centres and by foreign travellers in tourist destinations. Many women and girls, predominately from Nepal and Bangladesh, and from Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and Asia, including minority populations from Burma, are subjected to sex trafficking in India. Pramilla was approached by a recruiter who had previously helped her sister obtain employment. Pramilla was taken from Nepal into Delhi’s red light district where her employer told her that she had been sold and must now work in the brothel. When she refused, Pramilla was tied to a bed for seven days and her employer brought in up to eight customers a day to rape her. On the eleventh day of her enslavement, Pramilla was able to escape. She now works with a non-profit organisation that rescues and rehabilitates victims of sexual exploitation.

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Kumar

Men and women from throughout Asia and East Africa who migrate to Iraq are subjected to forced labor as construction workers, security guards, cleaners, handymen, and domestic workers. Some foreign migrants are recruited for work in other countries in the region but are forced, coerced, or deceived into working in Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region. In January 2016, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reported approximately 140,000 foreign workers lacked formal work permits. Kumar, a father of two, left his home village in Nepal for Jordan after promises of a well-paid job abroad. Kumar told the UN Human Rights Council that he nearly died as he together with 12 others were transported through two countries in a convey of vans to a military base in Iraq.

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Kamala

In Nepal, poverty forces people to seek work overseas to provide for themselves and their desperate families. Migration across the border is unsafe and uncontrolled, which is how Kamala was trafficked and forced into slavery. It is estimated that there are over four million domestic workers in India. The domestic sector is informal and unregulated, obscured in private homes, and workers are not recognised as such but rather as ‘informal help’. Their wages are, on average, only a third of those in other sectors, they have very limited social protections, and commonly suffer poor working conditions, exploitation, abuse and slavery. Many domestic workers are migrants from poorer states and are among the most marginalised and socially discriminated populations in India.

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Rita

Rita was drugged and trafficked from Nepal into India in 1998 at the age of 19. She was eventually helped by the NGO “Maiti Nepal.” Here she narrates a series of experiences that are rooted in her identity as a woman. The traffickers tricked her by explaining that they needed her to help smuggle diamonds—because “girls were not checked as thoroughly as men” by border guards. One of the first incidents in India is the replacement of her trousers for a long skirt. She notes that when women are enslaved they are “made ‘sisters.’” She goes on to observe the psychology of women who refuse to leave because they “will not be accepted by society.” She describes the horror of public questioning about her experiences in sex slavery. And she tells the stories of two other women—Vidhya and Maili. Thousands of Nepali women and children are trafficked every year across the border into Indian brothels, and Nepal has an unknown number of internal sex trafficking victims as well. In response to a dowry practice, where they must offer gifts that could be worth several years’ income, some parents sell their daughters rather than have them married. Other women are drugged and taken across the border, like Rita. Once enslaved, Nepali girls and women are more likely to be arrested than rescued by the police, and most Nepalese victims never leave India, even after liberation. Those who do are often shunned by their families and remain in Kathmandu at shelters. Another aspect of this enslavement is HIV and AIDS. Some 50 percent of those who return to Nepal are HIV-positive, and Rita makes reference to these “girls with AIDS.”

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Goma

Goma was enslaved in her home country of Nepal as a teenager, after running away with friends to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. She was made to weave carpet without pay and beaten when she asked for the money she earned. According to the Global Slavery Index, within Nepal, forced labour and debt bondage persist, particularly within the agriculture, forestry, construction, and manufacturing sectors. Many Nepalese are trapped into exploitative situations by borrowing money from lenders, who then force borrowers to work to repay their debt. As in Goma’s case, those in debt bondage do not have the freedom to work for another employer without the landlord’s permission, and are subjected to working long hours for wages below the minimum wage. Individuals who eventually pay off their debt are at risk of falling back into modern slavery, due to limited alternative job opportunities. Studies also indicate that forced marriage and the marriage of those under 15 years old continues.

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Anita

Anita was trafficked from Nepal to India in 1998 at the age of 27. Her narrative emphasizes the uniquely female elements of slavery. She describes her pain as a mother separated from her children, mentions the idea that the women in the brothel are her “sisters,” seeks escape by offering an earring to one woman, and finally escapes when another woman accidentally leaves a gate open. She gains empathy from a client by telling him: “I am like your daughter.” Even Anita’s psychological turning-point from freedom to slavery is female specific. “They cut off my hair,” she remembers. “I could not leave the brothel without everyone identifying me as a prostitute…short hair is the sign of a wild woman.” Thousands of Nepali women and children are trafficked every year across the border into Indian brothels, and Nepal has an unknown number of internal sex trafficking victims as well. In response to a dowry practice, where they must offer gifts that could be worth several years’ income, some parents sell their daughters rather than have them married. Other women are drugged and taken across the border, like Anita. Once enslaved, Nepali girls and women are more likely to be arrested than rescued by the police, and most Nepalese victims never leave India, even after liberation. Those who do are often shunned by their families and remain in Kathmandu at shelters. Anita describes such familial rejection in the wake of her experience.