• Maggie Doyne, center, poses with women from the Kopila Valley women's center. (Steve Doyne)

    For the Children

    Forty Kids and Counting

    How one 26-year-old activist became the mother of three dozen children in Nepal.

    Maggie Doyne looks tired. But you would too if you had 40 children.

    And they are all late to bed tonight.

    Permalink
  • A women is seen working at a brothel, February 2, 2013, in Kathmandu, Nepal. (Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket/Getty)

    Asia

    Inside Nepal's Sex Trade

    Demand for sex workers is increasing in Nepal due to an influx of Indian businessmen—and many young women are finding themselves forced into prostitution.

    KATHMANDU: Pratiya is a soft-spoken 19-year-old Nepali girl. She is energetic and excited as the conversation turns from Nepali politics to the upcoming World Cup. She wants to be a nurse and help others. But she doesn’t go to school, and the stack of books on her table belie her reality: she is a sex worker. For the past three years, Pratiya has been what she describes as a “servant” to a number of Indian businessmen who regularly visit Nepal.

    “It is really difficult to find a way out,” she said. “I just want to take the money and go be a university student and be like the rest of the girls.”

    Permalink
  • Former kamlaris, indentured laborers, protest against the government in Kathmandu, Nepal on June 4, 2013. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty)

    Freedom

    Protecting Nepal’s Vulnerable Girls

    After mass protests by Nepal’s kamlari, or indentured female servants, the government has agreed to take steps to abolish the practice.

    When a Nepali woman named Urmila Chaudhary was 6 years old, she was bonded as a kamlari—an indentured laborer—to a family in Kathmandu, far from her home district of Dang. Though she was liberated in 2008, she remembers the experience of serving as a bonded laborer: “When we stay as kamlari,” she said recently over the phone from Kathmandu, “we feel we are not human, we are like animal.” She spoke of not being allowed outside, of not being given treatment when sick, and being fed “rotten food.”

    Chaudhary is now in her early 20s, and hasn’t been a kamlari for years, but is recovering from injuries sustained from a recent beating at the hands of the police. Recently, Chaudhary traveled to Nepal’s capital as part of a group of some 65 girls, all former kamlaris, to seek justice from their government. In March of this year, a young kamlari girl named Srijana Chaudhary (no relation to Urmila) had been found dead in a home near Kathmandu, where she was serving as a bonded laborer. She had burned to death. The girls wanted a proper investigation into Srijana’s death, and also wanted the government to officially outlaw the kamlari practice. Although the system violates multiple laws in Nepal, it’s still widespread, even though there is a growing sense of shame surrounding it.

    Permalink