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tv   Asia Insight  NHK World  August 29, 2014 10:30pm-11:01pm JST

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♪ a rural village at the foot of the himalayas in central nepal.
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♪ the women performing here fell victim to sex traffickers and were forced into prostitution in india. new plays such as this, they are warning others about the trap they were once lured into. these awareness activities are led by an ngo based in kathmandu. the organization was established in 1996 by a group of 15 sex trafficking survivors.
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even if trafficking victims are fortunate enough to escape, they often face discrimination back home. the women went public in a bid to change perceptions and put an end to sex trafficking altogether. the group also gives returning victims a place to stay and offers counselling and support to help them back into society. in this episode of "asia insight" we follow the sex traffickers of nepal. women who are fighting prejudice and trying to rebuild their lives.
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southern nepal at the border within india. nepalis and indians can cross into each other's country freely as a result of a bilateral treaty signed in 1950, but the poorest border may the trafficking of women easy. police and ngos are working together to crack down on traffickers. still each year more than 10,000 women, mostly teenagers, are smuggled across and forced into a life of prostitution. a few hundred of them succeed in escaping from their captors or are rescued by indian authorities or ngos, but they're
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ordeal doesn't end when they return to nepal. many are shunned by their communities and labeled as prostitutes. in 2007, the government amended laws to criminalize not only the captors but everyone else. this has done little to stop the trade.
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this shelter in a residential area of kathmandu is a place of refuge for 25 sex traffickers aged between 11 and 30. the group has two other such shelters in other parts of the country. she came here six months ago. still just 18 years old, she comes from a nearby village where she worked as a street vendor to support her family. one day a villager she knew tinted her with a trip to india. he said they would work there together and earn good money.
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after crossing the border the man handed her over to a complete stranger. she traveled with him for three days and upon arriving in an unfamiliar town she was kept locked up in a small room. when the man who took her from the village returned alone her parents became suspicious and told police. the man revealed where she was being held. she was found in a remote indian town and rescued from being forced into prostitution.
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although she made it back, she says she can't return to her village. even though she never worked as a prostitute, she's worried that villages won't believe her and she'll face discrimination. many other women of the shelter who had been forced into prostitution suffered abuse for years after returning to nepal. to help heal their wounds psychological counselling is offered at the shelter. sessions are held once a week for as long as 18 months.
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the sessions are conducted by bal kumari who also manages the shelter. women are encouraged to put that you are thoughts down on paper if they have trouble speaking about their experiences.
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once residents at the shelter start showing signs of recovery, work begins on preparing them for their return to society. some of the women are illiterate and uneducated so shelter staff teach them essential skills such as reading, writing and simple a arithmetic. employment training is also provided, learning a craft such as needle work or weaving can help the women earn an income and eventually their independence. the training is provided by four staff members.
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the womens work is displayed at the entrance of the store. each product is labeled with its creators name. when an item is sold it gives the residents a healing boost of confidence. sunita is a founder. she's making one of her regular weekly visits to the shelter. sunita makes a point of speaking to everyone individually. their faces light up when they meet her.
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sunita believes that relaxing and enjoying time with others is a vital step to recovery for sex trafficking survivors. sunita, herself, was a victim of sex trafficking. at the age of 14 she was enslaved at a brothel in mumbai.
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for a month after she was abducted she refused to prostitute so she was gang raped by her captors. sunita has been held captive for five months when indian police decided to launch a large scale crackdown. the raid led to the rescue of 127 women including sunita. the nepali government didn't immediately allow the women back
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into the country. they were concerned about the possible spread of hiv. the women were eventually let back in but only on condition that they be tested for hiv and sheltered by an ngo. sunita approached an ngo run by a female doctor who campaigned against violence towards women. during her rehabilitation she learned for the first time about womens rights. sunita and her fellow victims went onto establish their own
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ngo and called it shakti samuha. they faced many hurdles in the process and were met with ridicule and dismissal. sunita and her colleagues began sunita and her colleagues began their activism by visiting factories and other places where women worked. they warned them about the dangers of sex trafficking. they also met with police, calling on them to do more to fight the problem. in 2003, seven years after forming shakti samuha, sunita was able to establish the own group's shelter with the support of overseas and ngos. the nepali government later designated september 5th as
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national day against human trafficking as a result of efforts by shakti samuha and other groups. the organizations stage a march on the day every year. more than half of shakti samuha's 62 staff members are survivors of sex trafficking. so far the organization has helped rehabilitate more than 500 women and return them to society. nowadays the parents of missing children are reaching out to the group pleading with them to help find their missing daughters. the organization receives more than 50 such requests every year. they copy letters and anything they receive and pass it onto police. they also alert other ngos in india to initiate a search.
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sunita lives in the eastern part of kathmandu. she got married in 1998 and has two children. nirpa is her husband. they met through his sister who worked at the ngo that first helped sunita.
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the couple's son has already moved out and now only their daughter lives with them. >> i'm proud of my mother. she is fighting for the rights of girls and children. i like her. >> sunita is always busy and values every precious moment with her family. this day she is traveling to a city 40 kilometers south of kathmandu. shakti samuha has 11 branchs that provide aftercare for victims of sex trafficking. each branch has one permanent
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staff member. therapy workshops are held on a permanent basis and anybody is free to drop in and take part. this session attracted 20 participants. some of the women here are victims of sex trafficking. others have suffered domestic violence. activities include theater as well. the cast are all victims of trafficking. they deliver their message
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through simple performances like this. here they're rehearsing for a show they'll present the following day. the lead role is performed by phulmaya. she understands the evils of sex trafficking all too well having been forced into prostitution when she was a teenager. phulmaya is unable to read so the staff teaches her her lines. it's an emotional scene for phulmaya.
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this performance has a special significance for phulmaya. it's being held in her home village. phulmaya returned to her village 14 years ago. she then received support to begin raising livestock. she saved some money and opened
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a store five years ago. she later bought a sewing machine and is now a seamstress. phulmaya eventually married a local man and had two children. she shares her home with her husband's relatives. it's the morning of the performance. the event is taking place on the grounds of a local temple.
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these performances not only highlight the point of cross border sex trafficking but the recent rise in domestic sex trafficking. more women are being lured to kathmandu to work in the sex traffic industry. sunita bangs on a drum to get things under way. in the story phulmaya's character lives together with her sick mother. she goes looks for work to help pay for her medicine.
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a man on a motorcycle pulls up beside her. the girl believes the man and sets out for kathmandu on back of his motorcycle. she begins working at a restaurant and is eventually approached by one of customers.
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the restaurant is, in fact, a front for a brothel. the girl resists but is finally forced into prostitution. the next scene is set in the girl's home village. she's managed to escape from kathmandu and her mother is relieved that she's home.
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a member of an ngo approaches the reunited mother and daughter. the trafficking survivor tells her story. the show ends with the ngo extended the trafficking victim a helping hand.
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the performances are also a way of giving trafficking survivors a sense of worth and a way back into society. sunita, who founded shakti samuha samuha is discussing her hopes to build a school for victims of sex trafficking. sunita feels that education is essential in helping victims
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return to society. sunita, herself, has been attended university for the past two years. she will major in social welfare and learn about the welfare systems in industrialized nations. she wants to incorporate those principles into the school she'll one day found. sunita and her team are dedicating their lives to fighting sex trafficking in nepal. their battle won't end until their battle won't end until every single woman is free. -- captions by vitac --
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. . . welcome to nhk world "newsline." i'm gene otani in tokyo. here is a look at some of the stories we are following this hour. indian prime minister narendra modi is heading for japan in hopes to build stronger ties to benefit the asian region. north korea has reversed its decision to send cheerleaders to next month's asian games in the south which had originally been seen as a gesture of friendship. raises awareness about a.l.s. a japaneuf


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