In 1991 a Nepali man sold his wife to a brothel. Now he will be going to jail for 20 years.

This true and extraordinary story from May 2013 shows the flagrant nature of sex trafficking in Nepal. It also demonstrates the depth and dedication of Maiti Nepal’s legal services. Slowly the tide is turning — impunity is no longer the absolute rule when it comes to familal trafficking cases, and the courts are willing to hear and convict, even when the case is as long ago as this one.

Indian train

From Maiti Nepal’s website—

NEPAL: District court Makawanpur sentences a man to 20 years in prison, convicting him of selling his wife to a brothel in India.

A single bench of district judge Tek Narayan Kunwar handed down the punishment to 53-year-old Man Bahadur Thokar of Tistung for selling his wife to a brothel in India 22 years ago. The court ruled that Thokar pay 300,000 rupees (approximately US $3,300) in reparation to the victim and a 200,000 rupee fine.

According to court registrar Kaushaleshwor Gyawali, two accomplices — Harimaya Gewa of Hetauda and Harkalal Gole of Basamadi are still at large. “As they have fled, their cases are pending,” he said, adding that the court had ordered payment of compensation from the state rehabilitation fund because of the convict’s inability to pay the amount.

Thokar had married the victim, who hails from Nuwakot, in 1991. He pleaded guilty.

“He coaxed me into marriage and took me along with my son to Padam Pokhari at a kin’s house. There, a friend took me to Hetauda to watch a movie saying my husband wouldn’t return as he had gone away taking 50,000 Nepali rupees with him. She gave me a drink and I lost consciousness. When my senses returned, I found myself on a train. Later, I found out I had been sold for 200,000 Indian rupees (about US $3,400) to a brothel in Mumbai,” Gywali quoted the victim.

“It was terrible — sleeping with seven or eight clients every day for 15 years until a person from Gujrat bought me for 23,000 Indian rupees and took me to his home. Five years later, I returned to Nepal to see my son. Upon learning that the so-called husband of mine could be punished, I filed a case against him and other with the help of Maiti Nepal last year.” she said. Acting on FIR, police arrested Thokar on June 17, 2012 in Palung.

Sold at the age of 22, the woman is now 44. She is now staying with her son at Tistung.