Police rescued 22 Nepali women from a hotel in New Delhi who were allegedly being trafficked from the Himalayan nation to the Middle East, and are searching for two suspects, officers said Saturday.
Officers from the force’s serious crimes branch raided a hotel near the capital’s international airport on Thursday morning after receiving a tip-off from the Nepali embassy.
One of the trafficked women had earlier escaped from the hotel and reached the embassy, leading to the police raid.
“Twenty-two women were rescued in the raid. We have identified two accused who are evading arrest,” Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) in New Delhi told AFP.
“The women will give their testimonies before a court today. The visas indicate most of them were flying to Qatar and other Middle Eastern countries,” he said.
The trafficked women were desperately looking for work in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake in April 2015 and were lured with the promise of jobs in the Middle East, another officer said.
Their traffickers took away their passports and documents after they arrived in Delhi a week ago.
Nepal has seen an upswing in the number of cases of trafficking since last year’s earthquake killed nearly 9,000 and left thousands homeless.
Many of them are trafficked to India and Gulf countries and forced into slavery and prostitution.
Campaigners have warned that gangs are targeting vulnerable women and children and traffic through the porous border with India.
A 2013 report by Nepal’s human rights commission recorded 29,000 incidences of trafficking or attempted trafficking in the country.