Human Trafficking Continues Unabated as Victims Don’t File Cases

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In the past four months alone, Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police rescued 81 women from India and other countries. They were victims of trafficking. However, police could neither identify the agents involved nor make any arrests. The reason – none of the victims filed cases against their traffickers.

The CIB receives information on Nepali women trafficking victims who are stranded in various Indian cities through various contacts and sources. After the information is verified, the CIB begins their effort to rescue the victims and bring them back to Nepal. However, the victims choose not to file cases against anyone, which results in the end of the CIB’s investigation.

In one instance on May 4, the CIB rescued 44 women who were returned by the Immigration check post in Dubai. The unsuspecting women reached Delhi in India from Nepal and took a flight to Dubai, believing that they were headed for Kuwait for domestic work. Police later concluded that traffickers intended to take them to Kuwait through an illegal route.

Each of the women had paid their ‘agents’ Rs 100,000 to Rs 150,000 to get work in Kuwait. Despite being cheated and nearly sold as slaves, all of the women decided to keep quiet. They did not name their agent nor filed any complaint.

As a result, the CIB could not investigate human trafficking cases on a large scale. There were no arrests. The CIB’s work was limited to rescuing the women. They could not investigate cases. This is not a novel situation for the CIB.

On May 16, the CIB rescued 24 Nepali women from Om Bihar of India with help from New Delhi-based Nepali embassy and Crime Branch of Indian Police. Human traffickers were preparing to take the women to Kuwait for ‘domestic work’.

The Nepali women were left stranded in Delhi for months before being rescued. One would expect them to be enraged against their fraudulent agents, but none of the women filed formal complaints against them. As a result, the CIB could not investigate further.

In another case, the CIB rescued five Nepali women from New Delhi with the help of an NGO Maiti India and brought them back to Nepal on July 31. They too were promised lucrative jobs in Kuwait and taken to the Indian capital from Nepal. The CIB could not investigate their cases for the same reason.

Likewise on August 11, the bureau rescued 11 Nepali women who were bound for Syria from India via Dubai. Nepali workers are prohibited to work in Syria due to ongoing conflict.  However, a chain of human traffickers had arranged to take the women to Syria for domestic work.

Surprisingly, only two of the victims contacted the CIB after their rescue. But none of them filed complaints against their agents. They did not support the CIB in investigating the agents who nearly sold them into slavery.

Among the women who were rescued from New Delhi on July 31, one woman from Jhapa district was a mother of two children. She had become fed up with her alcoholic husband who would abuse and beat her up after drinking. Tired of living that way, she contacted an agent who convinced her that she could make a lot of money working in Kuwait.

After being rescued, the woman not only refused to file a case against her agent, she also vented her rage against the CIB for destroying her foreign dream. According to Meera Chaudhary, spokesperson of the CIB, only a few rescued victims file cases against their agents. She said that human trafficking flourished as victims did not make formal complaints.

Most of the victims end up contacting human traffickers through their own relatives or their acquaintances. Despite being rescued from a foreign country, they still have a strong desire to work in abroad.

“Dreams of women who face severe financial crunch or domestic violence are woven in such a way with big promises of agents that they do not dare to file cases against their agents even though they turn out to be frauds and had intended to sell them,” said Chaudhary, adding that it is the lack of contact and co-operation on part of the victims that makes it difficult to take action against human trafficking networks.

(Originally published in Nepali language in the Kantipur, Nepal.)

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