By Håkan Gabrielsson
Our latest trip to Nepal was for the purpose of filming a documentary about the Badi people and the culture of forced sex-slavery and abuse they live under. Our goal:
1) Illuminate the humanity, dignity and beauty of the Badi people, especially their heritage in art, music and dance.
2) Educate about the desperate reality of those enslaved, abused and murdered in the brothels of India.
3) Inspire action and stir souls to help abolish this extreme injustice.
For our filming we flew to western Nepal for a few days to visit the area where the Badi people live. We landed in Nepalgunj and drove up into the mountains to Chin Chun and Surkhet where we had some fantastic days. We interviewed and filmed Badi leaders as well as parents to girls who had been sold into the sex-trade. We filmed at the border check-point to India where so many girls are crossing over. We also went to the area where we started the ministry to the Badi people three years ago. We tried to get an interview with a guy that had sold one of the girls to a brothel in Delhi India, but we finally could not obtain the permission from prison authorities. He is one of the few that has been caught and convicted in court and sentenced to jail. He got twenty years for his crimes. The girl now lives in one of the hostels in Kathmandu.
On my last visit to Nepal in April this year we met Rama Badi, one of the main leaders and activists for the Badi people who has fought for the rights of the Badi women. She is now the Badi representative on the Nepali government’s ‘Dhalit Commission’ – a government body representing the different groups of untouchables in the nation. We visited her village which is a place in absolute abject poverty. It consists of around one hundred huts of straw and clay without doors, electricity or any sanitation. It is next to a highway and the trucks and cars are passing by with screaming horns. Every hut is basically a home-brothel as there are customers who come to satisfy themselves. Poor, dirty children are running around with little clothes on their bodies. The mothers came out to see what was happening when our team set up the cameras and started to interview Rama on the main path through the village. She is a warm, grateful woman and has strength in her life. She has become a Christian since I met her last time and when she saw me she came up and hugged me (very uncharacteristic for a Nepali woman because of culture and religion to do something like that). She is asking us to save more girls from her village.
When the fifth home was started in Kathmandu in September Rama brought seventy-four girls to the home. For the girls it is like coming from hell into heaven. They have no words to express the freedom and wholeness they begin to experience in the homes in Kathmandu. They find a place filled with love and care and get plenty of good food to eat and warm nice clothes to wear. They will have a bed to sleep in and they will get a quality education that will prepare them for life
BADI GIRLS HOSTEL