An Australian man, who was convicted in his country on paedophilia charge in 2005, is in Nepal and the Interpol has alerted Nepal Police to keep a close eye on him.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bashundhara Khadka at the Interpol Department told the Post on Monday that Nepal Police has been informed that an “international child trafficker” from Australia landed in Kathmandu nearly 10 days ago. “It is a green notice which means the suspect has the potential of repeating his past crime and his activities should be closely monitored. We cannot arrest him unless it is a red notice,” said DSP Khadka.
The man, who is said to be in his late thirties, had earlier worked as a photographer for anti-trafficking and human rights organisations in countries like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand. He was arrested after Australian authorities found lurid pictures of his victims at his residence. He was given a clean chit in 2013 for showing good behaviour.
Police suspect that criminal activities like trafficking and sexual abuse could rise in the coming months, after the aftershocks of the April 25 earthquake subside.
“At the moment, the mobility of the suspects has been restricted by the continuous aftershocks. But once the aftershocks stop, they could flock to the earthquake-affected areas to target the vulnerable children and women,” said Additional Inspector General (AIG) Surendra Bahadur Shah. He added that police personnel have been instructed to remain extra vigilant to stop such crimes.
The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare has stated that 59 children have been rescued from traffickers after the April 25 earthquake. Out of them, 19 children are from Dolakha, 45 from Dhading and 22 from Rukum.
AIG Shah also informed that police in association with different organisations was working to spread awareness about human trafficking in the earthquake-affected districts.
To stop child trafficking in the wake of the earthquake, the government has banned child adoption. Similarly, the government has made it mandatory for children travelling without their parents to have permission letter from District Child Welfare Association, District Administration or the VDC.
Two traffickeres held
The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police on Monday made public two suspected human traffickers who are believed to be the member of the ring involved in the supply of young Nepali women to dance bars based in the Middle East and African countries.
The two suspects were identified as Surendra Bahadur Basnet, 36, of Bara and Sunil Magar, 20, of Jhapa. While Basnet worked closely with Indian traffickers and sent the girls aboard, Magar used to make rounds in dance-bars in Nepal and lure the girls into going aboard, police said. So far, police have arrested 10 persons involved in the racket.
Deputy Inspector General of Police Hemanta Malla Thakuri, chief of CIB, said the racket has connections in Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malaysia, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE. Many of the members also have investment in dance restaurants in Nepal, Dubai, Kenya and Tanzania.
In Nepal, the racket members had been running their business under the guise of a modelling agency. In a studio, the company would do photo-shoot of the girls and the pictures were sent to agents in destination countries for approval. Following the approval, the agents would send Rs 100,000 to Rs 200,000 as advance payment.
The trafficked women are made to work in dance bars under stressful condition. The bar owners would seize the passports and other travel documents of these women so that they could not return home. DIG Thakuri said they have written to the Department of Money Laundering Investigation asking it to investigate into the property amassed by the racket members and their close relatives.
“We found that money worth millions were transferred in the name of the wives of these gang members. We are sure that the money must have come from illegitimate sources,” said DIG Thakuri.