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UN special rapporteur to arrive on Sunday

UN Special Rapporteur against Trafficking of Women, Sigma Huda, is to arrive Kathmandu on Sunday, officials said.

During her three-day stay in Nepal, Huda?a Bangladeshi national-- will hold discussion with women rights activists, government officials, representatives of INGOs in Nepal, Minister for Children, Women and Social Welfare, and other people to assess the problem of women trafficking in the country and efforts made to curtail the practice.

Acting Secretary at the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dhruba Nepal, said she doesn?t have any plan to visit outside the capital due to time constraints.

She was invited by the office of Nepal Rapporteur against trafficking under the NHRC.

During her stay, the UN rapporteur will also hold discussion on possibilities of establishing South Asian level UN Rapporteur's office in Nepal and enforcement of the SAARC protocol on controlling trafficking in the region.

Rights activists say trafficking in Nepal has been a major problem for years. Though actual statistics are hard to determine, the number of girls and women trafficked to foreign brothels are estimated to be anywhere between 40,000 and 170,000. About 20 percent of them are believed to be under age girls below the age of eighteen. About five to seven thousand are said to be trafficked to India every year.

In Mumbai, the major destination of trafficked girls from Nepal, Nepali sex workers make up half the city's entire brothel population, estimated to total 100,000. 70 percent of these trafficked belong to indigenous ethnic groups like Tamang, Gurung, Magar and Sherpa. Most of them come from districts close to capital, Kathmandu, including Kavre, Sindhupalchowk, Nuwakot and Makwanpur.

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