‘Youths in sex for pocket money’

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jan 9, 2015-

There is an emerging trend among youths in cities wherein they engage in sex work to supplement their income to meet financial pressures of urban life, according to a study.

A research titled “Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Nepal”, which was released in the Capital on Friday, states that among the various manifestations of sexual exploitation, children were engaging in “pocket money sex”. The researchers held various focus group discussions with children under 18 in Pokhara, Kathmandu and Nepalgunj. It states that child-headed households and peer pressure brought about such trends.

“A lot of children migrate to cities where it becomes extremely difficult to sustain a minimal lifestyle and these young people need money which eventually leads to sex for money,” said Sumnima Tuladhar, executive director of Child Workers in Nepal (CWIN), which conducted the preliminary study commissioned by ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) Luxembourg.

While motivation to enter sex work differed from one girl to another, the study notes that for many it was attraction towards an assured income. “We get salary every month, plus tips. If we give good service to guests, they give us money. That is why I got into this on my own,” according a 17-year-old girl quoted in the study.

The children almost always claimed that it was “their decision” to join sex work, states the study. “A common thread that came out through most of our in-depth interviews was that children demonstrated high levels of control in their life decisions. They claimed that it was their decision to move to Kathmandu or Pokhara, they did not go with customers they did not like,” it reads.

It cites the story of young girls who were breadwinners of their family and sent money back to their villages. A 2010 study estimated 11,000 to 13,000 girls and women in the entertainment business, with a majority of them under the age of 25 and as many as one third under the age of 18.

Tuladhar said it was important to remember that young boys could also be vulnerable.

Published: 10-01-2015 09:28

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