Traffickers target destitute children after Nepal quake

29 May 2015

Esther Trewinnard/Tearfund

Dil Bahadur (left) is a tailor living with his young family in a remote area. He receives a tarpaulin from a Tearfund partner to take with him on the one and a half mile hike home. Dil is worried about his small children and how he will provide for them now that he has lost the goats that were killed in the earthquake

Dil Bahadur (left) is a tailor living with his young family in a remote area. He receives a tarpaulin from a Tearfund partner to take with him on th...

CHILD trafficking is likely to soar in Nepal in the wake of the earthquake, charities warn, as criminals prey on orphans and devastated families.

A Nepalese charity, CREHPA, which campaigns against child marriage, said that girls living in tents after the earthquake were being raped, and parents were desperate to marry them off young to try to keep them safe.

The director of CREHPA, Anand Tamang, said: "There will be a dramatic increase in child marriage and trafficking. We know the situation will be much worse. Many children have lost both their parents and they will be more vulnerable.

"Rape is taking place. Almost every week we have a case of a young girl being raped by a group of boys [in tents]. Parents who have young girls will have fear in their minds and they will think the best way to ensure her safety will be to marry her."

One in ten girls in Nepal is married by the age of 15, and four in ten are by the age of 18, the UN says. The UN estimates that between 12,000 and 15,000 girls are also trafficked each year from the country; most are taken to India, where they are forced to work as prostitutes.

The earthquake at the end of April, and its subsequent aftershocks (News, 15 May), have shattered the country, killing more than 8000 people and injuring 18,000 more.

Bhuwan Ribhu from Indian child protection charity Bachpan Bachao Andolan, told Sky News: "Our teams on the ground in Bhaktapur, Gorkha, and the surrounding areas of Kathmandu have seen people going there in the name of relief and promising jobs to children and adolescent girls. We fear they will be trafficked for sexual exploitation and for forced labour."

Some 1.2 million children are affected every year by trafficking, which is the world's fastest-growing crime. Tearfund is asking supporters to give the equivalent cost of two coffees a month to help end child slavery, as part of their No Child Taken campaign.

A spokesman for Tearfund, Jamie Fyleman, said that it was working in Nepal to protect those most at risk. "It is sickening to see traffickers exploiting children and young women who are already so vulnerable," he said.


www.tearfund.org/en/nochildtaken
 

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