Many Nepali children are tricked with lies about joining the circus. Most people would think the circus would be a fun place to live, but once in the circuses in India, children often live in squalor and are never allowed to leave the circus compound. They are routinely beaten in order to teach them the difficult and dangerous tricks, and sexual abuse is commonplace. In effect, these children are totally at the mercy of circus management who treat them as they please. This is how 2 girls were spared the horror of circus life.
16 year old Gajra* and 15 year old Adarsh* are friends and lived in the same village. They were approached by a lady and her husband who were visiting Nepal from India. The couple offered the two girls jobs in India. The girls were told that they would receive Rs 8,000 [US$72] each month working in a circus.
At first, the girls hesitated but the couple persuaded them to at least try it for around two to three months. Finally they agreed, and were told to go to a local bus station with another girl. The girls told their families they were going to school but instead they met up with the other girl and boarded a bus to the border. After getting off the bus, they took a rickshaw to cross the border. The staff at one of Captivating’s border monitoring stations, stopped them and asked questions about their travel plans.
The girls had been instructed by the couple to lie about their names, ages and their purpose of going to India. They had been told to talk in Hindi language and tell people that they were going to India with their family’s consent. During the interview, they told the truth and the girls were intercepted. The traffickers were arrested and a case has been filed with the help of the border station staff.
Sapna is 16 and is from a large but poor family. Because of this, she had to quit her studies after the 10th grade and start working. She worked hard to help her family but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the nationwide lockdown was implemented by the government, which created extreme financial hardship for Sapna and her family. One day, she received a call from an unknown number which almost changed her life.
When girls are smuggled over the border, either by force or deception, most are never found. Our partner, 3 Angels Nepal, is working hard despite the restrictions and travel limitations, to stop girls before they are trafficked.
Life has not always been easy for Saheli (name changed for protection) and her family however, with her father working hard, they still had a good life. When COVID-19 hit the world and Nepal went into lockdown, everything changed. Saheli’s father lost his job and so providing daily food for the family was difficult. In April, her world changed after meeting a man she knew as ‘uncle’.