Twenty-two Nepali girls, who were arrested in Tanzania, have been repatriated after their cases were settled.
The girls were repatriated with proper compensation, with the help of Nepal´s embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Federation of Non-Resident Nepalis (NRN) in Tanzania. The girls reached Nepal on 10 February and have returned to their respective homes.
The immigration authorities in Tanzania arrested the girls in the last week of December for ´dancing in an indecent way´ in a casino bar and held them at an immigration shelter for further investigations. The authorities subsequently identified them as ´victims of human trafficking´.
The repatriated girls include Meena Lopchan, Dibya Ghimire, Pratima Niraula, Priyanka Rai, Sasmi Deula, Susma Magar, Anita Pariyar, Rupa Shrestha, Pramila Lama, Bimala Adhikari, Sabita Ale Magar, Anju Shrestha, Uma Bhujel, Asha Roka, Sonu Tamang, Puja Lama, Srijana Pulami Magar, Ganga Maya Shrestha, Rama Bishunk and Sarita Tamang.
IOM Nepal has informed that all the girls opted to return stright to their respective homes after reaching Nepal.
“IOM helped in the repatriation of those girls to Nepal,” informed communications officer of IOM Nepal Ariani Hasanah Seojoeti, adding, “None of them wanted any help from any non-governmental organizations and opted to return to their own homes.”
She, however, declined to furnish further details about the condition of the girls, citing the ´sensitivity´ of the issue. It has been learnt that most of the girls are ´really young´.
A letter from the Nepal embassy in Pretoria to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states, “We have urged the immigration authorities of Tanzania to provide us detailed information about Nepalis or foreign nationals who are involved in human trafficking.”
All the 22 girls had travelled to Tanzania on visiter visas on different dates going back five to eight months. Nepali citizens get visas on arrival in Tanzania.
Though there are no figures on Nepali women travelling to Tanzania, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (NAFEA) estimates that there are at least 2,000 of them working illegally in that country.
Women and girls working in dance bars and casinos without work permits are vulnerable to sexual exploitation and harassment. Hundreds of Nepali women are tricked by middlemen with fake promises of jobs in various countries and trafficked.