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