Cambodia emerging destination for human trafficking: Police

Purushottam Khatri

Kathmandu, Dec. 3: A young woman filed a complaint at the Anti Human Trafficking Investigation Bureau (AHTIB) of the Nepal Police in mid-June of this year. The gist of her complaint was that she was lured for a lucrative job in Cambodia, where she faced abuses.

When she returned to Nepal with the help of government, she told the police that she was sexually abused there many times. Less than a week after she lodged the complaint, police arrested Kishan Rai, 37-year-old man from Shahidbhumi Rural Municipality-2 in Dhankuta district on June 26, 2022.

The complaint and the arrest showed that the Nepali girl was taken to the Southeast Asian country where she was sexually exploited.

According to Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and Chief of the Bureau Anurag Kumar Dwivedy, in the complaint filed by the victim, it was mentioned that Rai met her on Facebook and took the girl to a house where a Chinese citizen was living. She was then assured a job in a Cambodian construction company.

Dwivedy said, “It has been revealed that the Chinese man and Rai collected Rs. 450,000 from the victim and took them to Cambodia where she was to get free food and a monthly pay of Rs. 100,000 from the construction company.” According to Dwivedy, the investigation of police had confirmed that Rai’s group had illegally taken 46 Nepalis women to Cambodia through different routes and left them stranded there. The Foreign Employment Department has also started an investigation into the incident.

Earlier, the incident of sending young women to China after luring them with the promise of marriage was made public. SSP Dwivedy said, “Cambodia is now seen as a new destination for human trafficking.”

According to him, it has been found that Nepali girls and women are being smuggled by the traffickers to Cambodia via Kakarbhitta border through India to Myanmar and Thailand. Nepali girls are also taken to Gulf countries as well as the African countries.

868 arrested in four years

According to the Bureau, in the last four years (from the fiscal year 2018/19 through May 2021), a total of 868 traffickers, including 617 women and 252 men had been arrested. The data is based on police complaints and registered cases. Similarly, a total of 987 people were trafficked to different countries. Of them, 100 were men and 887 were women.

During the four fiscal years, 1,445 human traffickers had been sent to jail as detainees and 577 others had been on the absconding lists.

According to the record, the cases of human trafficking had increased in the fiscal year 2021/22 compared to 2019/20 and 2020/21. In the year 2021, 209 people had fallen prey to trafficking. Of them, 198 were women and 11 men. In the year 2018, 387 people had been victims, and of them, 316 were women and 71 men. Likewise, in the year 2019, a total of 204 people were trafficked and of them, 190 were women and 14 men, and 187 others had been trafficked in the year 2020/21, and of them, 183 were women and four men.

SP Dwivedy said that foreigners were also found involved in human trafficking from Nepal, indicating that international gangs are involved in trafficking people from Nepal.

1.5M Nepalis at trafficking risk

According to the annual report of the National Human Rights Commission, 35,000 people become victims of trafficking in Nepal annually. Among them, 12,000 were trafficked for labour, 7,000 for adult entertainment and 3,000 children were trafficked, the report stated.

According to the report, about 1.5 million people in Nepal are at risk of being trafficked. According to the Commission, of those at risk, 1.2 million are girls from rural Nepal aged 13-19. Similarly, 21,000 people are at risk for adult for entertainment, about 200,000 for foreign employment and 100,000 for child labour in different destinations across the world.

Former DIG Keshav Adhikari said that the nature, trend and style of human trafficking incidents have changed. There have been incidents of trafficking in the name of foreign employment, educational counseling, inter-country marriage, tourism, cultural programmes, and adoption.

He said that more incidents of human trafficking have been happening in the name of foreign employment in recent years.

Multiple trafficking routes

It has been revealed that the team of Kisan Rai arrested on June 26 used the Indian route to transport the women to Cambodia. They first took the victims to Kakarbhitta from Kathmandu and sent them to Cambodia via Assam, Nagaland, Guwahati and Manipur of India, then Myanmar and Thailand.

Similarly, another bizarre revelation that Nepali women and children are delivered from New Delhi to Mexico via Moscow, Spain, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala was made in course of investigation. They have also been using Mexico route to transport girls as far as America, said police.

In order to reach Europe, the smugglers used to take the victims from Tribhuvan International Airport to Dubai, Libya and Italy before dispatching them to various countries in Europe. Likewise, Nepalis are trafficked to Gulf countries, via New Delhi, Mizoram (northeast India) and Sri Lanka. The traffickers are also found using New Delhi-Dubai air route to take Nepalis to the African nations.

According to the latest report of the NHRC, new routes from India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Indonesia have also been explored to traffic Nepali nationals to many destinations.

Published on: 5 December 2022 | The Rising Nepal


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