Nepal’s squabbling political parties have squandered an opportunity to pass into law one of the most gender-friendly constitutions ever devised.
Social activists say that attempts to rehabilitate sex workers in this former monarchy call for special efforts to uplift the Badi, a Hindu caste that has for centuries been associated with entertainment and prostitution.
Five years after Nepal abolished Kamalari, a system of girl slavery, thousands of young women are still awaiting promised rehabilitation and support from the new democratic republic.
Life, already hard in Nepal’s remote western region, is getting worse thanks to HIV infection brought back by men who go to neighbouring India for seasonal work.
Women in Nepal’s remote rural areas stood shoulder-to-shoulder with their men during the bloody 1996-2006 civil war that overthrew an oppressive monarchy, but many now battle domestic violence at home.