Kathmandu: A research conducted by Child Labor: Action Research Innovation in South and South-Eastern Asia (CLARISSA) Nepal has found that children land into child labor, including the worst forms of child labor, through multiple pathways and face different kinds of abuses at the hands of their employers and customers.
In the largest study of its kind by CLARISSA Nepal, 400 life stories were collected and analyzed by children and young people in the worst form of child labor in the Kathmandu valley’s adult entertainment venues that include places such as dance bar, cabin restaurant, spa, and massage parlor, Dohori restaurant, and small snack shops (Khaja Ghars).
The findings of the research were shared with media persons at an event organized in Kathmandu on Monday. The study was conducted in the Valley’s major adult entertainment hotspots including Gongabu, Kalanki, Thamel, Durbarmarg, Sundhara, Koteshwor, and Manohara areas.
“This research reveals different pathways for children into the worst forms of child labor in the adult entertainment sector in Nepal. There are linkages between the family’s poor economic condition and children going to Kathmandu and/or beginning to work there. Family health issues and disruption at home such as parental alcoholism, family violence, and parent separation are reasons behind financial troubles,” Samjhana Bhujel, a researcher with CLARISSA Nepal, said.
Ranjana Sharma, another researcher with CLARISSA Nepal said, “Children working in the adult entertainment sector are stigmatized by society. Therefore their lived experiences remain hidden.” “At CLARISSA Nepal, we listen to children and learn from their experiences. Our research showcases issues these children face that drive the worst forms of child labor in the adult entertainment sector in Nepal,” said Sharma.
The life stories reveal different abusive and exploitative practices, including harassment and bullying, against children in child labor in the adult entertainment sector by both customers and employers. The study also reveals the involvement of different intermediaries, typically relatives, friends, neighbors, or brokers who children rely on to find work.
Highlighting the significance of the research, Sudhir Malla, the Country Coordinator of CLARISSA Nepal, said, “The issue of the worst forms of child labor in Nepal is a systemic problem. To address the issue, we need to understand its dynamics and their relationships within the larger system. The CLARISSA research reveals the system dynamics that would be helpful for all including families and schools to come together to innovate solutions for the well-being including the mental health of children in the worst forms of child labor in Nepal’s adult entertainment sector.”
CLARISSA has a participatory and child-centered approach that supports children in the worst forms of child labor to gather evidence, analyze it themselves and generate solutions to the problems.
CLARISSA is a consortium of civil society organizations led by the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), together with Terre des hommes (Tdh), Child Hope UK, and Consortium for Street Children, to generate a strong evidence base on, and innovative solutions to, the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) in Bangladesh and Nepal. In Nepal, Nepal CLARISSA is primarily focused on the WFCL in the Adult Entertainment Sector and is coordinated by Voice of Children (VoC) in partnership with Children-Women in Social Work and Human Rights (CWISH) and Tdh Nepal.