Incident Reports

Women workers in entertainment sector continue to be exploited



Hundreds of women working in the entertainment sector continue to face exploitation. Most of the women employed in dohori sanjh restaurants, massage parlours, dance bars, dohori sanjh get very low pay and are not even given an appointment letter. On top of it, they have to face sexual abuse and harassment at the work place. Although in 2008, the Supreme Court had issued a verdict and procedural guidelines to prevent economic and sexual exploitation of women and girls in the entertainment sector, nothing has been done to implement the court’’s order even after 10 years. Sudha (name changed) started working at a dohori sanjh restaurant since the age of 17. She said she was looked down upon in society just because of her profession. “I joined the entertainment industry as a waiter in 2008, but I have not been given any appointment letter by my employer,” Sudha shared. In the same way, Mina (name changed) from Chitwan quit her job after she faced sexual abuse at a dance bar she worked. “The bar also gave me a room to live, but later the owner of the bar started sending customers to my room. He never gave me any appointment letter,” she shared. “There is no law to protect our rights. As a result, even police refuse to register our complaints against employers. They ask for our Identity cards and citizenship certificate but we are unable to provide them with such documents,” she said. The above are just representative cases. There are around 600 massage parlours, dance bars, dohori sanjh restaurants and spa centres in the country where some 2,000 girls and women are directly employed, according to a report prepared by Alliance against Trafficking in Women and Children in Nepal. According to the report, none of these workers has received appointment letters. As per the report, 49 per cent women employed in entertainment industry faced sexual abuse, 43 per cent did not get salary on time, 33 per cent didn’t receive transportation allowance and 22 per cent workers did not receive payment for overtime work. Rights activist Narbada Sorali said no law had been formulated to address problems seen in the entertainment industry. “Labour Act, 2017, which is coming into effect from August 17, also fails to address the problems. The act has ensured the rights of workers, which includes those in the entertainment sector, but it fails to address the issues of women workers.” According to Rishi Ram Bhusal, director at the Department of Labour and Occupational Safety, the new labour act had also ensured the rights of the workers in the entertainment sector.


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