Adult entertainment sector workers gather to discuss problems


July 5, 2022


Adult entertainment sector workers gather to discuss problems

Participants at the program.

KATHMANDU: The Second National Conference of adult entertainment sector (AES) workers has begun in Kathmandu.

Workers deliberated on various problems they have been facing in the AES. The two-day conference has been organized with the objective of strengthening the voice, agency, and leadership of the workers of the AES to effectively advocate for legislative and policy reforms related to the AES to safeguard the rights and interests of the workers.

A participant representing the workers said that she started working at a restaurant as a child labor, six years ago. Gradually, she started working as a dancer.

Then her trouble began. Her employers and clients behaved with her in such a way that she suffered from mental and physical torture. “I used to return home at around 4 am and did not get any leave,” she said.

She said that the health of the workers at dance bars has deteriorated as there are loud noises for long hours, they are exposed to the smoke of cigarettes, and are often pressurized by their clients to consume alcoholic drinks. Workers pointed out the problems like low pay and negative social outlook towards their profession.

Yogendra Kumar Kunwar, General Secretary of Nepal Trade Union Congress, said the government should be serious to address the problems in the AES.

“Trade union believes in collective bargaining. You have to be united and should increase your bargaining capacity,” he said.

The trade union is working to get the ILO Convention 190 ratified by the parliament.

The convention is all about work environment devoid of violence and harassment, Kunwar added.

The AES workers have national network with a total of 15 members representing seven provinces. The workers also have their provincial networks in four provinces.

Zainab Akther, Chief of Party of Winrock International’s Hamro Samman Project supported by USAID and UK aid, said, “I am happy to know that with Hamro Samman’s support, Biswas Nepal facilitated the process of establishing the federal and provincial networks of the AES workers and I hope these networks will continue their advocacy at all spheres of the government to mainstream their agenda and issues in line with Nepal’s constitution and international human rights instruments.”

Chandrika Ojha, Vice-President of Biswas Prerana Rastriya Sanjal, a national network of the AES worker said, “This is our second national conference. We took the initiative to form the network as we felt need for taking initiative to bring about positive change in the AES.”

She emphasized that workers and stakeholders should work together to make it an exploitation-free business.

Top Bahadur Magar, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), said that business enterprises should respect and follow the norms of human rights.

Stating that the NHRC is aware of the problems faced by the workers as it had conducted a study on the AES, he stressed on regular monitoring of the AES. “We are committed to guarantee the rights of the workers,” he said.

Tara Bhandari, President of Biswas Nepal, said that workers themselves should take initiative to make the sector dignified.

“Rather than blaming the employers and the government, we should take initiative to make this sector dignified,” she said.