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In recent years, millions of women and girls have been trafficked across national borders and within countries. The trafficking problem is particularly acute in Nepal, one of the least developed countries in the world, with 42 percent of its citizens living below the poverty line. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 girls are trafficked from Nepal to India and other neighboring countries every year, primarily for prostitution, and 200,000 Nepali girls and women are currently working in the sex industry in India. The occurrence of trafficking in Nepal is generally attributed to widespread poverty, low status of girls and women, and social disparities rooted in ethnic and caste groupings. Women living in an environment of restricted rights, limited personal freedom, and few employment opportunities may decide that out-migration is their only hope for achieving economic independence and a higher standard of living. Those who are victimized by traffickers instead experience abuse, exploitation, and greater vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. This brief describes a recently completed operations research project undertaken in Nepal that recommends strengthening anti-trafficking interventions in the region and providing effective care and support to trafficked women and girls.






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