Documentary tells stories of women trafficking in Nepal

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-9 16:50:08

 "When I reached Mumbai I was told that I had to make men happy. At that point I understood that I had been sold," Sunita Danuwar, 36, narrated to Xinhua recently.

Sunita Danuwar said that she was only 14 years old when she was drugged and sold to a brothel in Mumbai, India.

"I broke down in tears and shouted. The owner of the brothel started beating me and pointed a knife at my neck. He threatened to kill me and said that when I am dead, people would spit on my body," she said.

Sunita said that she told the owner of the brothel that she would prefer to die rather than to work as a prostitute. "They tortured me but I resisted," she said.

Sunita said that she was not fed for several days and slowly lost the energy to fight. She was later sold to another brothel where she was gang-raped, and forced into prostitution. In 1996, she was rescued along with other 128 Nepali minors from a Mumbai's whorehouse in an overnight police raid.

Sunita is now the main character of "The Color of Brave," a documentary from Film Himalaya directed by Binod Adhikari, which features the ordeal of survivors of human trafficking in Nepal.

"The documentary gives a message of hope. People will see how, despite the travails that I have undergone, I have been able to reinvent my life. I can now be a role-model to others," Sunita said.

When they to return to Nepal, trafficking survivors such as Sunita often encountered an unimaginable obstacle: their home country doesn't want them back. They also have extreme difficulties in reintegrating into society due to the strong stigma of having been former sex workers regardless of the fact they were forced into it.

Upon Sunita's return to Nepal headlines such as "The country could become a dumping site" and "Society also negative towards the released girls" were bannered by local newspapers.

Sunita said that this was one of the reasons behind her effort to empower other survivors and protect those at risk.

She is the a founding member and the current chairperson of Shakti Samuha, the only anti-trafficking NGO in Nepal that has been established and run by survivors of human trafficking.

In working on the documentary, Director Binod Adhikari spent two years exploring Indian brothels and oftentimes faced dangerous situations.

"I spent one month in the Indian brothel where Sunita was kept. I was beaten, they stole all my money and I was held in the brothel for several days but I decided not to give up," the 30- year-old filmmaker said.

Adhikari said that the documentary has been a life-changing experience for both Sunita and himself. "We have been able to help other trafficking survivors and to locate Sunita's relatives back in her village," he said.

Producers of the documentary, Prakash Pant and Sunita Shrestha, decided to invest in the project to raise awareness on the problems of human trafficking in Nepal.

"There are very few documentaries made by Nepalese filmmakers tackling this specific problem. As a woman, it is unimaginable to understand the pain girls as young as 14 years old go through as they are sold to brothels. Through this documentary I hope to raise awareness among the population in order to stop human trafficking in the country," Sunita Shrestha said.

Nepal is one of the most important sources for trafficked women in South Asia. Nepalese women, mostly from the slums and poor areas, are particularly trafficked to India through the open border.

Nepal's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 Nepalese women and girls are trafficked to India each year. They are sold to Indian brothels for between Rs 25,000 (about $347) to Rs 100,000. Currently between 100,000 and 200,000 women and girls are believed to be still held in Indian brothels against their will. (1 US dollar = 72 Rs)

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