In the old and blackened shops at Laxmi Road in Mumbai, you can see the young women, with heavy make up on their faces waiting for customers. Their eyes, however, don't seem to convey any emotions. Their dusty laughter lacks feeling. Some 1,000 Nepali women are said to be serving as sex workers in Laxmi Road alone. When a group of visiting Nepali journalists visited them recently, they got agitated and began to curse the country that sent them here.
"Why have you come here to talk to us?" one of them asked us in a combative tone of voice. Her face was contorted with anger and disgust. "Go and ask the people manning the border. Ask your government. Don't they know how many girls and women are leaving their homes and are disappearing?"
Another woman said that she had been trafficked when she was only 13. "I didn't know where I was being taken and for what purpose," she said. "Is it our crime if others take advantage of us?" A few years back, some trafficked women had been repatriated from Mumbai at the initiative of a group of NGOs. But the initiative fizzled out. Walk into any big cities in India-Mumbai, Kolkata or Delhi-the plight of Nepali women is no different. After losing their freedom and their dignity, the women have now been forced to come to terms with their existence here. Another woman shouted, "Damn Nepal! Our country has forced us to come to this hell. But at least here we have food. If you can return us our dignity and give us jobs back home, then take us back. Otherwise, why have you come here?"