In a major police crackdown on organised human trafficking ring, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police has rounded up seven racketeers long involved in pushing hundreds of young Nepali women into foreign countries with the promise of lucrative jobs.
The detainees have been identified as Rajendra Subedi Khatri alias Rajan, 34, and Lalit Raj Singh Suwal, 32, of Lalitpur; Sabin Raja Manandhar alias Sabin Shrestha, 37, of Kathmandu; Tarun Rojana Khangwal alias Riyan, 27, of New Delhi, India; Sunil Adhikari, 32, of Morang; Kedar Bahadur Khadka alias Ashish, 34, of Sankhuwasabha; and Nabin Dahal, 34, of Dhankuta. They were operating a human trafficking racket under the cloak of travel agents, suppliers of cosmetic goods, floriculture businessmen, computer parts suppliers and hoteliers. They were arrested from different places of Kathmandu and Lalitpur over a period of one week. Khatri and Dahal, who are repeat offenders, were released on bail last year.
DIG Hemant Malla Thakuri, Director, CIB, said the racketeers were caught selling young women as ‘a market commodity’ by luring them into going to African countries, including Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, and Bahrain, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia with work permit or visit visa. “The racketeers in cahoots with their foreign agents were trafficking women for the past three years directly from Kathmandu or via Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmadabad of India promising them jobs of ‘bar dancers’ that would pay more than Rs 100,000 per month,” he said. CIB had launched an investigation into the ring after the Kenya-based International Organisation of Migration rescued some Nepali women and helped them reach home recently. “More than 80 per cent of women trafficked abroad are former bar dancers of Kathmandu,” DIG Thakuri said.
“The racketeers would perform certain selection process like taking semi-nude pictures of these women and exchanging them with their foreign counterparts. The dance bars and restaurants in these countries would select the women based on pictures and personal details and arrange work or visit visa for them,” he said, adding that many Nepali women were forced to work as ‘nude dancers’ or ‘sex slaves’ in African and Gulf countries in recent times.
All the racketeers detained by the CIB had also invested in dance bars and other entertainment sectors in Tanzania and Kenya among others. According to investigators, the racketeers were living luxurious life in Kathmandu and often indulged themselves in gambling in casinos.
CIB has confiscated one million rupees, $200, remittance receipts from Dubai, Kenya and Tanzania equivalent to Rs 7.5 million, 24 passports and 65 photos of various women, e-tickets and e-visa. According to CIB, they have also received information regarding the involvement of human trafficking rackets in extracting vital organs of victims.
A report of the National Human Rights Commission has said that majority of women and children are being trafficked for sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and entertainment sectors. According to the NHRC Observation and Monitoring Report, 2013, nearly 1,000 female migrants were lured into travelling to South Korea via marriage bureaus.