Though the government has banned Iraq as a labor destination for Nepalis and requested all those working there illegally to return, the trend of going to the strife-torn Gulf country seems unabated.
The authorities on Monday turned back four women, who were on their way to Iraq, from Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA). They were carying work visas. Acting out of suspecion over the travel documents possessed by the women, police did some investigating and established that the four did not even know they were headed for Iraq.
According to DSP Binod Ghimire at TIA, the women held visas issued from Kurdistan in Iraq but their work permits were issued for Lebanon. “We handed the women over to Metropolitan Police Range Office, Hanumandhoka on Tuesday for further investigations,” he said.
The women turned back from TIA have been identified as Bibi Dong, 23; Harimaya Tamang, 38; Sitamaya Tamang, 36; and Uma Tamang, 37. Except for Uma, who is from Kavre, the women are from Sindhupalchowk. Police have handed them to their relatives and intensified the investigations, informed DSP Dinesh Acharya, spokesperson of MPRO.
Preliminary investigations show that the women, who appeared ´uneducated and innocent´, were given forged documents, and that there is a huge racket involved. The four were about to fly out with the help of Earth Vision Overseas, which operates out of Gaushala in Kathmandu.
They were about to fly to Sharjah International Airport in Dubai by an Air Arabia flight. They were then to go on to Iraq under a false promise to be taken to Lebanon, according to those investigating the case.
Police have not been able to bust the racket and a few of the suspects are still at large. The women spent Rs 50,000 to 60,000 for the foreign jobs they were promised.
The government last year had banned women below 30 from working as housemaids in the Gulf after increasing reports of sexual, physical and mental exploitation.
In view of escalating assaults by ISIS in various parts of Iraq, the government has requested all Nepalis working in Iraq to return home at the earliest.