Priya was just 12 when she was drugged by an aunt and dumped at a brothel in New Delhi. "I thought it was a cinema hall but then I realized they wanted me to do bad things," said the young Nepali woman, now 21, who was brought from her poverty-stricken village with the promise of a job as maid. \nPriya spent the next three years in the Indian capital's red-light district where she says she was forced to have sex with "all kinds of men from 13-year-olds to old men with no teeth". \n"They threatened me, saying they'd let me go if I worked for three years and earned 50,000 rupees (US$1,070) for them," Priya told Reuters. "Otherwise, they said they'd send me to a brothel in Bombay where I'd be locked in a room until I was old." \nToday, she's one of a lucky few to be rescued from sexual slavery -- in fact she now works with police, saving other women from brothels. But thousands of Nepali girls are trafficked across the 1,580km India-Nepal border and sold to brothels. \nSocial workers say the number of girls being trafficked from Nepal has increased in recent years because of AIDS. \n"There's a myth that having sex with a virgin can cure you of AIDS," said Roma Debabrata, president of STOP, a group that rescues girls from brothels. \nShe said some men with AIDS fork out up to 100,000 rupees (US$2,126) -- almost an entire year's starting salary for an executive -- for a virgin. \nThere are from 200,000 to 375,000 Nepali women in Indian brothels, according to a report the Indian non-governmental organization Prayas helped compile. \nAbout 30 to 40 percent of the total number of women in India's red-light districts are Nepali, Ravi Nair, executive director of the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre, told Reuters. \nTrafficking of women from Nepal's hill communities began in the 19th century, when feudal lords recruited girls from the Helambu region north of Kathmandu to work as concubines. Owning "Helambu girls" became a mark of high social status. \nToday, the practice of keeping concubines has ended but the recruitment of women continues -- only now they are sold to Indian brothel owners who like them because of their fair complexions. \n"There are organized gangs and it's a multi-million-rupee trade," Nair said. "The problem is cross-border trafficking is not given the same importance as cross-border terrorism or trafficking of drugs." \nAlmost always the story is the same -- poor and illiterate girls as young as nine are sold by their families or lured to India with the promise of well-paid jobs as domestic or factory workers. \nOnce there, activists say they are sold to middlemen for US$200 to US$500 and then they must resign themselves to life as a prostitute or face gang rape and torture until they submit. \n"Their spirit gets destroyed," said Nair. \nA US-based non-governmental group, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, recounts the story of 13-year-old Mira from Nepal who arrived at a brothel on Bombay's Falkland Road, where thousands of women are displayed in zoo-like cages. \n"When she refused to have sex, she was dragged into a torture chamber in a dark alley used for breaking in new girls. She was locked in a narrow, windowless room without food or water," the report said. \nAfter she refused to have sex for a fourth day, she was wrestled to the floor and her head was smashed against concrete until she passed out. When she awoke, she was raped. "Afterwards, she complied with their demands," the report said. \nSome girls are rescued and some manage to escape but the numbers are few and far between. Many contract AIDS in India and are then sent back to Nepal where they are dismissed as "India's soiled goods." \nIndia has nearly four million people suffering from HIV/AIDS -- second only to South Africa -- and health experts warn the numbers could spiral if steps are not taken to control it. \n"Since 1997 we have rescued about 400 girls from brothels in New Delhi, Bombay and Calcutta," said Bishwa Khadka, an official at Maiti Nepal, a group helping rescue and rehabilitate trafficked girls. \n"Forty of them are still with us with AIDS and 10 have already died of AIDS while with us." \nFaced with the prospect of social ostracism at home, one 16-year-old Nepali who STOP rescued from a Delhi brothel said she didn't want to go home. \n"She said she did not want to be rescued because she had nowhere to go," said Debabrata.
It’s not even a road yet. At the moment it is merely a hint of upturned sod off Highway 11. When I visited last week the digger was sitting there unattended for the holiday. And yet, there it was, terrifying. On the site plan the locals obtained, the road goes down to the south end of Taitung County’s Shanyuan (杉原) Beach. That beach now hosts the infamous Miramar hotel, built on land taken from aborigines by the government in 1987 and handed over to a developer to build a hotel in 2004 as a build-operate-transfer (BOT) project. The hotel became the
Daniel Pearl World Music Day takes on a special meaning this year as the late journalist’s mother, Ruth Pearl, passed away on July 20 at the age of 85. After Daniel Pearl was tragically abducted and killed by terrorists in 2002 while working for the Wall Street Journal in Pakistan, Ruth and her husband Judea started the Daniel Pearl Foundation, which seeks to promote cross-cultural understanding through journalism and music — Daniel’s two main passions in life. “[Ruth] was a tireless champion of human rights, press freedom, and racial harmony,” concert organizer Sean Scanlan says. “We all remember her devotion
Jazz is back, but just don’t call it a festival as the Give Me Five concert series is set to kick off tomorrow in Taichung. Running through Oct. 31, the small-scale performances take the place of the annual jazz festival, which was canceled for a second year in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In years past, the multi-day event attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators. “It’s totally different this year,” Hsiao Jing-ping (蕭靜萍), head of performing arts for the city’s Cultural Affairs Bureau, says. Nearly 30 traditional and contemporary jazz bands will perform at venues throughout the city. The old
That morning, there was no getting away from food. I was in Kaohsiung’s Yancheng District (鹽埕), trying out some of the neighborhood’s older and more distinctive eateries. Knowing I had to pace myself — to seek respite from repasts, if you will — I went into a temple I’d not noticed on previous trips to this part of the city. Shaduo Temple (沙多宮) is dedicated to five Wangye (王爺) spirits, or Lords of a Thousand Years (五府千歲). If the baskets of fruit, trays of candy, and packets of cookies on the main offertory table are anything to go by, the deities