One of the activities of the Prevention Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking Project (PAST II) is to visit 5 regions of the country and meet with the girls and women working in the entertainment sector. Explore and meet with the like-minded organizations and stakeholders and discuss the issues and problems at the regional level. The first visit was scheduled to go to Itahari in the Sunsari District in the east.
The first meeting was with the PLAN International field office Program Coordinator. PLAN also is involved in with the girls and women working in the entertainment sector with various local partner organizations since 2015. In the meeting, the PC shared that they had been reintegrating the minors back in the community, rescue, emergency safe house, psychosocial counseling, non-formal education, health treatment, legal counseling vocational training, lobbying and involving with the Municipality, Women Development Officer, Hotel Business Association, Police and other like-minded organizations.
The same afternoon (3rd May), a joint meeting (in presence of PLAN Coordinator and 2 UPCA staff members) was fixed with the group members of an NGO, called Shramik Mahila Sajha Manch Nepal, which was registered with the CDO office in Sunsari in support of local partner called Under Privileged Children Association (UPCA) Nepal. The members of this NGO were working in the entertainment sector which was established in 2015. They so far have 129 general members with 9-member in the Executive Board. PLAN and UPCA are providing them institutional support for the development of their capacity development, HR policy and profile update. The office is run by the paid volunteers who also are involved in rescue and administrative upkeep of the emergency shelter. The coordination with the Women Workers Protection Union was also agreed in any future activities. At the same time, this NGO agreed to support the Regional Level Interaction program of the stakeholders in finding solutions, to be held on 5th May 2016 in Itahari, by inviting the stakeholders for their participation. They also agreed to be the institutional member of the Women Workers Protection Union for further cooperation.
On the 4th May, another meeting with an NGO opened by the Female Sex Workers (FSWs) was organized. Mahila Sahayogi Samuha was formally registered in 2004 in Itahari. During this meeting it was agreed that this NGO would extend their support in the Regional Level Interaction program of the stakeholders in finding solutions”, to be held on 5th May 2016 in Itahari, by inviting the stakeholders, NGOs, police, CDOs and Hotel Business members, their members as well as participants from their other branch offices located outside Itahari (Rajbiraj in Saptari) and provide their meeting hall and chairs. They also promised to coordinate in any future programs at regional and central level. They also became institutional member in the Women Workers Protection Union.
The interaction program was held on the 5th of May in Itahari. The participants were the representatives from local NGOs, like Prayas Mahila Samuha, UPCA Nepal, Mary Stopes Centre, Sahara Nepal, AMDA Nepal, Sahara Samaj, College interns, Hotel Business representatives, Mothers’ groups, Family Planning Association (FPAN), Nawajiwan Samaj Sewa, PLAN International, UNFPA, Melmilaap Bikash Manch, APEC Nepal, Assistant Police Sub-Inspector – Women Police Cell, Maiti Nepal, Mahila Sachetna Samaj, Mahila Sahayogi Samaj, Sramik Mahila Manch, Mahila Sahayogi Samuha, Media persons, etc.
After the introduction of the participants, the objective of the program was shared by Lochana Sharma, Union Coordinator. The interaction program mostly focused on sharing of the problems by the women who had been the victims of police administration. They also shared why they were forced to join the entertainment sector. If the government ensures them dignified work they were willing to change their professions. The general opinion of the most of the participants was that some positive changes are visible. One of the outcomes was the formation of 9 point Directives 2072 in the presence of 47 representatives from Government duty-bearers, I/NGOs, Municipality, Media persons, Hotel & Guest House owners, Hotel Associations, political representatives, etc. The signed commitment is ensure the rights of girls and women working in the Itahari Sub-Metropolitan Entertainment Sectors.
The interaction concluded with a signed commitment by the participants to support in the collective efforts and cooperation to manage this Entertainment sector in an organized manner. The social organizations and the State bodies can play important roles to bring constructive changes in this informal entertainment sectors.
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