The commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a well-known problem in Kathmandu. Having seen a decade-long proliferation in the number of venues making up the adult entertainment sector (AES), frontline organisations – including the Freedom Fund and its local partners – made this the focus of their battle to eradicate the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Through a combination of prevention and protection interventions, alongside advocating for better regulation of the adult entertainment sector, significant progress has been made. The Freedom Fund wound down its CSEC program in 2020, on the basis that the numbers of minors being exploited in the Kathmandu AES had decreased and local groups had the capacity and experience to continue working effectively in this space.
While not exhaustive, the findings of this review clearly suggest that the forms and locations where CSEC takes place are evolving and further research and policy responses are needed to determine the extent of those changes. To help curb this worrying trend, a range of measures are proposed to be pursued by relevant authorities, NGOs and researchers.