On 6 March this year, journalist Soma Basu published a highly detailed investigative report exposing skin trafficking of Nepali women. It revealed how young Nepali women are brought to India, lured into brothels and their skin “stolen” and used for cosmetic surgeries.
“A 100-inch square piece of fair skin sells for Rs 50,000 to Rs 1,00,000 in Delhi and Mumbai. Agents take women till the Indo-Nepal border. […] The women have to sign that they have donated the skin and not sold it,” said 40-year-old trafficker Prem Basgai, as quoted in the story.
The story sparked nationwide conversation and went viral almost immediately. Till date, it has been read by over half a million people, shared over 40,000 times on social media and been covered by many media organisations.
On 10 March, a report by Reuters revealed that the story reached the Nepal government which promised that due action would be taken to further investigate the issue. Kumar Khadka, Nepal’s Women, Child and Social Welfare Minister, said that they are “stunned by the report”. “We will investigate and if found to be correct, the government will make all efforts to stop this heinous crime and punish those responsible,” Khadka said.
Just yesterday (Oct 4), news broke that Soma been awarded under the Local Reporter category at the 16th Kurt Schork Memorial Awards. According to the jury, “tackling sensitive issues such as the skin trade and organ trafficking was risky and a story that had never been written about before.”
Congrats to Soma for her brilliant work! And if you have a story to share on an important issue, especially one that’s being ignored by mainstream media, use YKA as your platform and reach thousands. Login and publish your story.