Sex work, a taboo profession still practicing in the context of Nepal in a hidden form. Women indulging in sex work in Nepal is the result of compulsion. Women are forced to adopt sex work as the profession because of the escalating conflict prevailing in the country, which has further created food insecurity, unemployment, illiteracy, which limit the women to undertake high class job, resulting their path towards adoption of sex work as profession.
Sex work in Nepal prevails in many forms. The waitress of cabin restaurants, the street based sex workers, the dancers in dance restaurants, the high class prostitutes, women working at massage parlors etc. More than 900 women are employed in the cabin restaurants, which are found in many places in the valley, but most often are found along the link roads of the New Baneshwor-Bhattisputali-Gaushal-Chahabel area. The women working in cabin restaurants and dance restaurants make up slightly more than half of the total numbers of sex workers in the valley area.
Street based sex workers are in the worse condition in comparison to non-street based workers. The reason is the institutionalized sex workers are more secure and can have negotiating sex with their partners, as they are quite aware about the risk of unsafe sex. But the street based sex workers sell their body even in a piece of chocolate and noodles. Safe sex and prevention from STDs are out of their imagination. Due to this, the sex workers are more vulnerable towards different sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
Also, this profession as discussed, prevails in hidden form, due to which none of the responsible party neither the government nor the civil society has raised their voice to preserve the rights of sex workers. The media portrays the news in the different direction, which limit them to get them organized due to fear of stigma and discrimination.
Many of this institutionalized and non-institutionalized sex workers are migrant women, who have migrated to the urban for better life. Keeping this in mind, WOREC has established a drop in center "Chhahari, women's health counseling center" in Kathmandu to curtail the problems of the internally trafficked women, female migrant workers and the women working at cabin and dance restaurants.
'Chhahari' will mainly focus on providing health care services to these women in informal sectors, who are in the risk of getting trafficked within and outside the country. "Chhahari" will mainly focus on identification of internally trafficked persons in Kathmandu using peer-group approach, provide them with support as per need in general, and psychosocial counseling, as well as medical and legal assistance in particular. Whole program is designed to empower them to take control over their body and work. To meet this objective different need- based training with right-based-approach will be organized.
Together with this, Chhahari will also provide STDs diagnosis, referral and HIV/AIDS information dissemination and counseling as one of the components of reproductive health services to the unserved population and female migrant workers working in different entertainment sectors at Kathmandu.