Nepal is a source country for women, men and children who are subjected to sex trafficking and many other worst forms of labor. According to the report “Trafficking in Persons” (2012), published by The US Embassy of Nepal, Nepali men are subjected to forced labor, most often in the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, within the country. Nepali women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking in Nepal, India, and the Middle East, and also are subjected to forced labor in Nepal and India as domestic servants, beggars, factory workers, mine workers, and in the adult entertainment industry. They are subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor in other Asian destinations, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea. The Chinese district of Khasa on the border with Nepal is an emerging sex trafficking destination for Nepali women and girls. Nepali boys also are exploited in domestic servitude and – in addition to some Indian boys – subjected to forced labor in Nepal, especially in brick kilns and the embroidered textiles industry.Similarly the report mentions that many Nepali migrants seek work in domestic service, construction, or other low-skilled sectors in Gulf countries, Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, and Lebanon with the help of Nepal-based labor brokers and manpower agencies. They migrate willingly but some subsequently face conditions indicative of forced labor, such as withholding of passports, restrictions on movement, nonpayment of wages, threats, deprivation of food and sleep, and physical or sexual abuse. Many are deceived about their destination country, the terms of their contract, or are subjected to debt bondage, which can in some cases be facilitated by fraud and high recruitment fees charged by unscrupulous agents.A recent Amnesty International study found that migrant workers migrate via India; this is illegal under the 2007 Foreign Employment Act that requires all workers to leave for overseas work via Kathmandu airport. Many migrants leave by land to avoid legal migration registration requirements and to avoid paying bribes that some officials require at the airport to secure migration documents.

 A recent International Trade Union Confederation report noted that many employment agencies force migrant workers to travel via India in order to avoid insurance coverage or a proper documentation system and to avoid obligations to pay workers their entitlements. Unregistered migrants – those who travel via India or independent recruiting agents – are more vulnerable to forced labor. Bangladeshis transit Nepal for employment in the Gulf and are at risk of being trafficked.

Earlier reports said that 6 to 7 thousand persons have been trafficked from Nepal to other countries. But these numbers have reportedly risen throughout the last few years. It is estimated that around 20 thousand girls from the poorest parts of Nepal are trafficked to India and Gulf countries each year. Of Nepal’s 75 districts, the Government has officially recognized that at least 36 districts are highly vulnerable in terms of human trafficking. Most of the girls are  taken to India where they are sold to prostitution dens. Officially only 3 per cent of Nepalese migrant workers are women. However, it is estimated that in reality women account for as much as 30 per cent of the total number of Nepalese migrant workers abroad.The main purpose of the trafficking is for the commercial sex trade, organ transplants, illegal adoption, forced marriage, domestic work, circus entertainment, factory work, cheap agricultural labor, construction work, mining work, drug trafficking, bonded labor, begging and using children as  camel jockeys.Victims of trafficking are sometimes moved within Nepal from villages to the metropolitan centers. Young girls and women are mostly trafficked for sexual exploitation in massage parlors, cabin/dance restaurants, lodges and hotels by the highway  or  tourist places . Labor trafficking is common within the country too. Children are being forced to work in different factories such as carpet, garment, embroideries, brick factories and many others. The child sex tourism trade has also has been a trafficking destination within the country.

There is no authentic data of persons who are internally trafficked. But some 40 thousand girls and women, aged 12 to 30, reportedly work in 1,200 cabin and dance restaurants and massage parlors in Kathmandu only.[2] Some of these women are sexually exploited and/or trafficked.

NGO activists who are working against human trafficking, slavery and exploitation issues estimate that each year at least seven thousand children are trafficked within the country for commercial sex exploitation and 20 to 25,000 girls become involuntary domestic workers.

Official data on missing women in the Kathmandu Valley also indicates that an average of five hundred women are reported missing each year.

Cross-border trafficking to India is also a big and complicated problem. People from Nepal and India can move without documents in both countries legitimately. According to the border security forces of both countries it is difficult to separate legitimate and non-legitimate movements. Both countries have no systematized mechanism to keep tabs on their citizens wherever they may be. It is estimated that more than two hundred thousand Nepali trafficked persons are working in Indian brothels.

According to a report of an Indian Television Life OK, there are 2.8 million women and girls in Indian brothels. Nearly 200,000 girls between 9 and 20 years were taken from Nepal to India.

The Government of Nepal increased its efforts to prevent human trafficking during the year. The government endorsed the National Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons in March 2012 and declared 2013  ‘Anti Human Trafficking Year’. The plan of action includes 5 strategic topics for taking action against human trafficking. They are: 1.Prevention 2.Protection 3.Prosecution 4.Capacity building and 5.Coordinating, Cooperation and Collaboration.

The Government has also sustained law prosecution efforts during this project period. Nepal prohibits most forms of human trafficking, including the selling of human beings and forced prostitution, through its Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Act (2007) and Regulation (2008) (HTTCA). The HTTCA also prohibits other offenses that do not constitute human trafficking, such as people smuggling and purchasing commercial sex. Prescribed penalties range from 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment, which are sufficiently strict and equal with those prescribed for other serious crimes, such as rape.
Keshav Duwadi
Awaj Aviyan Nepal

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