Keeping in view possible ‘trafficking’ of children from quake-hit areas in the guise of providing them good food, education and shelter, Nepal Police has stepped up vigil at exit points, especially in the districts bordering India.
In the last 30 days, security personnel have rescued 87 children, who were allegedly being trafficked to India, from various districts, according to the police.
Following instructions from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, security personnel have stepped up efforts to protect orphaned children, homeless and those living in temporary settlements from being trafficked.
“As we have received complaints against the suspects, we are on high alert and suspects are under our close scrutiny,” said Spokesperson for Nepal Police DIG Kamal Singh Bom.
As per the government’s decision, we have made it mandatory for children travelling without their parents to carry travel documents issued by the local authorities, he said.
Of the 87 children rescued, 46 are from Ri and Jharlang VDCs of Dhading, 19 from Liping VDC of Dolakha and 22 children from Taksera VDC of Rukum, according to the police.
After the police found that 46 children were being brought to Kathmandu from Dhading without permission from the local authorities, the police arrested the suspects, said Bom. “The suspects said that they brought the children after seeking permission from their parents.”
A few days after the quake, 22 children were found living in tents in Tarkeswor Municipality near Balaju, giving the police enough reason for suspicion. “Immediately after we received complaints, we carried out an investigation and found that the children were being kept there without permission from the authorities,” said Bom. Metropolitan Police Range Office, Kathmandu arrested Bibek Budha, who had been sheltering the children.
Similarly, the Metropolitan Police Circle Office, New Baneshwar and Metropolitan Police Range office, Jawalakhel rescued 11 boys and 8 girls respectively, who were brought from Dolakha district. The police suspect that the children were brought to Kathmandu to be trafficked to India.
“We have cautioned the authorities against trafficking networks that have been targeting children belonging to the families that lost everything to the quake,” said Executive Director of Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB) Tarak Dhital.
We have also taken other measures to protect minors, girls and women, who have been forced to live in insecure and temporary shelters, he said. CCWB has also urged the people to call at 1098 or 104 to inform the police about any such suspicious activities.