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Deepa doesn't know how old she is, but she looks about 10. In 2000, the Nepalese government outlawed the Kamaiaya system and promised financial support and land to help former slaves establish themselves. Deepa's mother was freed from servitude but was also among the estimated two-thirds of Kamaiya who have yet to receive any support. Unable to raise Deepa herself, she was forced to send her off to work in much the same way as she would have done had the law never been passed.<br />
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Among Nepal's untouchable class are the Kamaiya - a social group who have traditionally sold themselves and their children into bonded labour, for as little as US$50 a year. Even though the Kamaiya system has been legally abolished, the practice of bonded child labour, or kamalari, is still prevalent. The children perform menial labour, mostly as domestic servants, or in small businesses and on farms. They work all day, every day. They have no childhoods. They don't go to school. There is nowhere to turn if they are abused. They have almost no chance of breaking out of this poisonous system to make a better life for themselves or their own children in the future.<br />
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This has been going on for 2,000 years.

Deepa doesn't know how old she is, but she looks about 10. In 2000, the Nepalese government outlawed the Kamaiaya system and promised financial support and land to help former slaves establish themselves. Deepa's mother was freed from servitude but was also among the estimated two-thirds of Kamaiya who have yet to receive any support. Unable to raise Deepa herself, she was forced to send her off to work in much the same way as she would have done had the law never been passed.

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Copyright Rob Few