NAINITAL: Traffickers of earthquake-affected girls and women from Nepal seem to be finding new routes. In the latest rescue, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) brought to safety on Friday, 10 teenage girls — all between the ages of 12 and 16 years — at Banbasa in Champawat on Nepal-Uttarakhand border.
Security forces also apprehended a 55-year-old man who accompanied the girls along with his minor daughter, after he failed to produce proper identification and papers.
The girls were residents of Nepal’s Kanchanpur district. SSB informed the girls’ parents, who travelled to Banbasa, after which the girls were handed over to them on Saturday evening. Poonam Sareen, assistant commandant of the SSB said, ‘The man accompanying them was drunk and could not produce any identification papers.”
“We apprehended him, suspecting trafficking, as the racket has gripped the country hard after the devastating earthquake earlier this year,” she added.
As per various reports and studies, the United Nations Organization and local NGOs estimate that around 10,000 to 15,000 women and children are trafficked from Nepal every year. The majority are said to end up in Indian brothels, while the others are taken to various countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Recently two Nepalese women rescued from the clutches of a Saudi diplomat in Gurgaon revealed that the Gulf has long been a hellhole for women and children trafficked from Nepal.
An alleged trafficker arrested by Delhi police in July this year had said that traffickers approach villages in remote districts affected by the quake of April 25 this year. They offer lucrative jobs and take the women to Delhi from where they were booked onto international flights to the Gulf.
Janakchand, director of REEDS, an NGO working to prevent human trafficking at the India-Nepal border, said, “Most of these criminal networks are based in India, which makes identification of traffickers tricky and difficult. The gangs have representatives and agents looking for ‘suitable targets’ across Nepal, particularly in deprivedand affected areas.”
The website of UNICEF says that it is already “supporting” the police to establish or strengthen at least 84 checkpoints and police stations throughout the country and in earthquake-affected districts.
In order to check trafficking, the Nepalese government suspended international adoption rights after the quake and also banned children from travelling between districts and across international borders without parents or approved guardians. The registration of new orphanages has also been suspended by the Nepalese government.