Immediately after the earthquake struck Nepal last year, human trafficking shot up by 15 per cent, a report of the National Human Rights Commission of Nepal has revealed.
“There are evidences that the magnitude of Trafficking in Persons (TIP), especially of women and children, has increased after the earthquakes. by up to 15 per cent,” said the NHRC report, which was released Monday. An NGO, Maiti Nepal’s data on the number of women and children intercepted before and after three-months of the earthquake reveals that the risk of trafficking increased after the earthquake by at least 15 per cent, going up from 635 to 725 persons.
A total of 308 persons of less than 18 years, and another 327 of over 18 years of age, were intercepted in the three months before the earthquake. The worst offender was the Nepalgunj district, which shares border with Bahraich district in Uttar Pradesh, with a total of 204 interceptions. In the three months post-earthquake, 331 persons of less than 18 years of age, and 394 persons of over 18 years, were intercepted.
According to Sunita Nepal, joint secretary in the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, “the main source district for trafficking is Sindhupalchok, while Kathma-ndu is a transit district for the trade. They people are trafficked to India through the border districts of Chitwan, Rupandehi, Parsa, Jhap and Kailali.”
“Of late, India is increasingly becoming the transit location. From Nepal, the women are trafficked first to India, and then to Sri Lanka, Thailand or Bangladesh, from where they are taken to Middle East, Europe and Africa,” said Maiti Nepal’s communications officer Achyut Kumar Nepal. “The long winded route is to bypass a clause: if a Nepali woman wishes to travel to Middle East from India, she has to produce a no objection certificate from the Nepal Embassy,” he said.
As per Nepal Police, a total of 1,233 women and children were also reported to be missing three months after the earthquake, and as many as 161 children were rescued from different border points, between Nepal and India, in the same period.