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The gendered experiences of adolescent girls working in the adult entertainment sector in Nepal

Research reports

Written by Fiona Samuels

Hero image description: Focus group discussion with adolescent girls in Sindhupalchowk Image credit:Fiona Samuels/GAGE 2020

This report on the gendered experiences of adolescent girls working in the adult entertainment sector (AES) is one of a series of publications presenting the findings from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme’s three-year study in Nepal. While existing studies look at the issues of violence and harmful practices such as child labour in the AES, there is a dearth of information about how the industry is changing (such as in mediation activities, customer–client relationships and the location of services in establishment based/nonestablishment based venues) as well as the gendered experiences of girls in these circumstances. The study aimed to fill this knowledge gap by using a gender and social norms lens to examine the context of girls’ lives before they enter the AES, the factors that influence girls’ entry into the AES, and the emerging activities and avenues of the AES in Nepal.

The findings are of relevance to the current debates on modern slavery and trafficking in the following three ways:

  1. the study unpacks the role of systemic discriminatory practices driven by norms and values to push girls in the AES where girls are vulnerable to abuse and exploitation;
  2. it highlights the relevance of responding to these root causes in preventing modern slavery and trafficking and discusses how contemporary globalisation gives rise to new forms of abuse and exploitation; and
  3. it highlights the importance of bringing various contextual and common sense definitions of ‘exploitation’ into the modern slavery debate and strengthening them through a wider legal definition of ‘exploitation’.

Anita Ghimire, Fiona Samuels and Samjhana Bhujel