Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


Kamala Sarup: A Nation At War & Human Trafficking

A Nation At War And Human Trafficking

By Kamala Sarup

A nation at war generally fails to protect young women from traffickers. This is evident from the fact that a few thousand women in the western and eastern parts of Nepal have already been forced out of their homes due to the nine-year-old conflict. There have been no comprehensive study linking displacement and women trafficking. It's not certain how many women have been displaced and trafficked over the past decade because there is no mechanism to properly identify victims of trafficking in Nepal.

Poverty is definitely linked to trafficking but it is not the only reason. It exacerbates an already desperate situation caused by war. The trafficking of girls in Nepal is the direct consequence of years of economic and political crisis, and the low status afforded to women.

Women from minority groups such as refugee women, women living in rural or remote communities, and women in situations of armed conflict, are especially vulnerable to trafficking. Since they have a limited access to occupations and resources, they are the ones hardest hit during economic crisis and during the war. Young women and poor children without social protection are the first to be constrained into sexual transactions due to lack of alternatives.

Displacement is the most common consequence of armed conflict. Many displaced women and their families in Nepal are still without adequate shelter and are among the most vulnerable to trafficking. In addition, it is important to note that most women suffer the impacts of war in multiple ways. One of the most tragic consequences of the long-drawn civil war has been abduction of women and children. However, the government as well as non-governmental organisations have failed to systematically identify and meet distinct needs of a large and particularly at-risk group of women and have no program for them.

A latest study published by the UNICEF calls for greater efforts to empower those who have been trafficked or who are at risk by tackling root causes in countries of origin and destination, further strengthening social protection systems to prevent child trafficking, and greater understanding of trafficking within the broader context of development, gender equality and poverty reduction, with responses shaped accordingly. The report also highlights the changing nature of trafficking, with girls and women increasingly trafficked within countries and men increasingly trafficked for labour.

Because of the war, many women are separated from their families. Rape is also reported, though it remains difficult to document. More frequently the fear of retaliation and the knowledge that nothing will be done, silences them.

Existing discriminatory laws, lack of support system for survivors of trafficking, and lack of specific laws on sexual assaults have further aided the rise in trafficking of women. Only limited attempts have been made to combat the problem over the past decade. Lack of commitment and policy implementation pose as obstacles in solving the crisis. The government has not been able to come out with concrete and effective programs to curb this problem. If governments don't prosecute and punish then, there is a tendency for it to continue. A coordinated approach to the problem is central to effective and sustainable solution.

On the other hand, across the country the women trafficking has produced a health epidemic. However, HIV and conflict create a double jeopardy for women because the internal war had not allowed the country to set up the necessary conditions required to combat HIV/AIDS. Women's health can be effective only in as much as the security of victims or armed conflict is guaranteed.

On the other hand, special attention must be given to the encouragement of economic growth in the rural areas. For this reason, alternative income generation strategies are needed. It is necessary to carry out work for prevention of trafficking, protection of victims and arrest of criminals. The work on first two directions in Nepal is not satisfactory.

It is crucial to mobilize mass media on matters related to women trafficking and HIV/AIDS, condom promotion in order to reach a considerable number of people and helping to fight the problem and disease. Broad alliances involving governments, voluntary organizations, local communities, workplaces, and schools and the military must be part of this joint effort. For trafficking to be addressed in situations of conflict may well require a psychological and political revolution. The invisible will need to become a political priority.

Education and awareness are the two powerful instruments, which can check the spread of the problem. Women trafficking should be addressed during a conflict rather than waiting until it has ended.


(This article was published in Kamala Sarup is editor of )

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news