It is 6 a.m. in Kakavitta, Nepal, the dirt-road border-crossing between Nepal and India, and already the heat is scaring, overwhelming. A solid line of pickup trucks and cars stretches miles to the government checkpoint, kicking up a choking mix of diesel fumes and dust.

In these dire conditions, two terminally ill young women, Gita Tamang and Nisha Chettri, move from car to truck to bicycle rickshaw, inspecting them for 12 hours a day, seven days a week. They stop anyone traveling with any young women who aren’t clearly family. What are Gita and Nisha on the lookout for? Unsuspecting Nepalese girls in the hands of sex traffickers, who will sell the girls into the notorious brothels of Bombay. With the help of the border police, who supply the muscle, Gita and Nisha separate girls traveling alone or with a single man and interview them individually to find out if their stories match. (Traffickers — most of them male — often cross the border ahead of or behind their victims, joining up with the girls one they’ve passed the authorities.)

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