In UFA -BRICS Conference India Commits to Combat Organised Crime of Human Trafficking

12096157_836787289776376_7733434317553998478_nThe Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Kiren Rijiju led the Indian delegation to the first BRICS Ministerial meeting on Migration held in Sochi, Russia yesterday. After detailed deliberations, a joint declaration was issued, which is a major milestone so far as orderly and legal migration amongst BRICS countries is concerned. Following is the Text of the Joint declaration:

“We, the Heads of the Migration Authorities from the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of South Africa, guided by the Ufa Declaration and the commitment to respect human rights included in that declaration:

1)   Affirm the interest of BRICS countries in exchanging views and sharing experience on migration issues;

2)   Acknowledge the interrelationship between transnational migration and development and the need to deal with the opportunities and challenges that migration presents and take advantage of its positive impacts;

3)   Reaffirm the openness of the BRICS to deepen collaboration with other countries, international and regional organizations, based on principle of equality and mutual respect for discussing and addressing the issue of international migration including the facilitation of safe and  orderly migration;

4)   Acknowledge the impact of migration to the social and economic development and demographic situation in the BRICS countries;

5)   Express the interest of BRICS countries in sharing best practices in the development and implementation of national migration policies or procedures;

6)   Acknowledge the relevance of cooperation in the field of migration in the BRICS space;

7)   Recognize the importance of promoting the mobility of skilled workers in the space of the BRICS countries;

8)   Reiterate the commitment to combat and prevent organized criminal human trafficking and migrant smuggling;

9)   Welcome strengthening of the dialogue and cooperation in the field of migration, including migration policies, procedures and strategies as well as working meetings of representatives of the migration authorities of the BRICS countries;

Confirm our commitment to strengthen our partnership for our common development and to this end adopt this Joint Declaration, which is open for other countries to join”.

It is believed that this joint declaration will go a long way in smoothening the flow of people and would enrich social, culture and economic ties. The members also resolved to combat and prevent transnational organized crime in line with the Ufa declaration. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Shanghai Cooperation Council (SCO), Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and other International bodies on migration.

On the sidelines of the BRICS Ministerial meeting on Migration, Shri Rijiju held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Konstantin Romodanovsky, Minister and head of the Federal Migration Service of Russia, yesterday. In this meeting various issues were raised including simplification of work permits and issue of temporary resident permits to Indian nationals. Russian Minister was forthcoming and promised to look into the issues on priority. He also invited the Indian side to visit and see the existing system regarding immigration and migration followed in Russia.

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10 Nepalese teens rescued from suspected traffickers at Intl border

PUBLISHED IN THE TIMES OF INDIA

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. 19216.otherhorror1

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.

3 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.

New laws for trafficking victims

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NAMRATA VIJ AHUJA IN ASIAN AGE

Victims of trafficking may no longer have to depose in court to prove their cases as the government is considering allowing video conferencing as part of wide ranging reforms suggested by a high level committee which has given its suggestions to the Union home ministry .The definition of sexual exploitation under the law is also set to be tightened to include ‘’involuntary acts done under coercion and in absence of free will’’, extending the scope of the law to include such portrayal in the print and electronic media and Internet.

Three sub-panels formed by NALSA core committee headed by Supreme Court judge Justice A.K. Sikri and consisting of joint secretary in home ministry Alok Kumar had submitted their report which is now being studied by the ministries of home and women and child development for implementation.

While work has already begun in the WCD ministry to amend the Imm-oral Traffic (Prevention) Act to remove any gaps in the law, the MHA is working on other suggestions which also call for setting up an exclusive or specialised agency for investigating organised crime.

Pointing out that trafficking, which includes sexual exploitation to a large extent has become one of the largest organised crime in the country, a top MHA official said that a dedicated institutional structure is in the works to act as the nodal point for coordinating with the various agencies concerned, including the police and the legal authorities.

The WCD may act as the nodal body and may have its own dedicated agency to deal with such crimes, the official said adding that deliberations are going on the issue.

On the legal reforms, the ministry of home is in the process of consulting the law ministry to allow video-conferencing for all victims of human trafficking to ‘’isolate them from the traffickers’’ and increase the conviction rates.

“The video conferencing of all victims of human trafficking may be allowed from the nearest point made available by the probe agency and is expected to go a long way in allowing more and more victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation approach the police with their complaints and depose before the courts subsequently,” the official added.

Fears rise with floods, dam height – Vigil to stop trafficking

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TELEGRAPH

Guwahati, Sept. 15: Severe floods in Assam have fuelled fears of a spurt in trafficking of women and children from the ravaged areas of the state.

Police and NGOs are keeping vigil in the vulnerable areas since disasters have in the past caused largescale displacement of people, leading to migration, a situation that traffickers try to take maximum advantage of.

Shakti Vahini, an anti-trafficking NGO, said at least five minors from Assam, who were being trafficked to Delhi, have been rescued from trains in West Bengal and Bihar since August.

Deep Banerjee, regional project manager (North Bengal) of Shakti Vahini, told The Telegraph that on August 27 they had rescued a 16-year-old girl from Kokrajhar in Assam at New Jalpaiguri railway station and reunited her with her family.

“Another teenager from Dhubri in Assam was rescued at Katihar railway station in mid-August. At present, she is lodged in a shelter home at Araria since she is not been able to give the correct address of her village which is creating problems in locating her house,” he said.

“On September 3, two girls from Dhubri district, aged 15 and 16, were rescued from New Jalpaiguri railway station while they were being taken to Delhi by a suspected trafficker with the lure of employment. The trafficker managed to escape,” he added.

Banerjee said with floods hitting Assam, there could be a rise in trafficking of women and children from the vulnerable areas of the state. To prevent trafficking, the NGO is maintaining vigil on trains coming from Assam and at New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri junction and Delhi railway stations.

Director-general of police (CID) Mukesh Sahay said trafficking cases have been detected in the state in the past 15 days. He said it has been observed that post-disaster, both natural and manmade ones like riots, which cause displacement, incidents of trafficking are on the rise.

“We are aware of it and directions have already been issued to police, other government agencies concerned and civil society groups to remain alert and look for traffickers and their agents who become active in such situations,” Sahay said.

An official of the state social welfare department said people who have lost their agricultural land and homes due to erosion and floods are most vulnerable to trafficking since it becomes easy to take them to Delhi and other places with the lure of employment.

Digambar Narzary, chairperson of Nedan Foundation, a Kokrajhar-based anti-trafficking NGO, said the condition of the tarpaulin-roofed relief camps in Kokrajhar district, which shelter the riot-affected people from Adivasi and Bodo communities, had become pathetic following heavy rainfall in past weeks.

“Inmates of these camps are most vulnerable. Every week, we are getting two to three reported cases of trafficking from these areas,” he said.

Though there has been a steady improvement in the flood situation, even today 1,063 hectares of crop land and 62 villages are under water. Around 62 people have died in the latest wave of floods.

Shakti Vahini spokesperson Rishi Kant said there had been a rise in trafficking from Nepal after the devastating earthquake this year, from the Sundarbans after cyclone Aila hit Bengal in 2009 and the same could happen in Assam if preventive measures are not taken.

Sex Slaves For Middle East And ISIS Smuggled Through India

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BY SUMIT KUMAR SINGH IN THE SUNDAY STANDARD

Sex sells, or so the bizarre saying goes. Literally, thousands of women from India, Nepal and Bangladesh are sold every year to customers in the Middle East, and the slave markets and sex-prisons of ISIS fighters in Syria. New Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata are the transit points for these sex traffickers. In this web of horror, the predators and facilitators even include airlines and immigration officials. Months before the First Secretary of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in New Delhi, Majid Ashoor, and his Saudi friends were exposed for allegedly gangraping and brutally assaulting two Nepalese girls in his Gurgaon house, another 24-year-old Nepalese woman Reema (name changed) was sold to a middleman by her parents in Nepal. Her dismal fate would have dumped her in the international network of human traffickers to be sold in the booming sex slave market of the Middle East. She, along with six other unfortunates, were detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on July 27, when they were about to board a flight to Dubai. But the markets have expanded.

As the immigration desks at airports have been alerted about the trafficking, and documents as well as the travellers are verified and scrutinised carefully, sex agents have started sending women and girls first to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Morocco and Bangkok, and from there, have obtained visas for the Middle Eastern countries such as the UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, as well as Egypt and Syria. Africa has become the new thriving slave market for these girls with buyers coming from Tanzania and Kenya.

Police investigations into the L’Affaire Majid revealed a bigger network operating, even involving two Air India employees Manish Gupta and Kapil Kumar, who issued boarding passes for flights. In February 2014, Delhi Police and CISF, acting on an Intelligence Bureau alert, rescued 76 Nepalese girls travelling to Dubai from the clutches of traffickers and were repatriated back home. Sources said it is most likely  that they would be sold again to the highest bidder because they are promised lucrative jobs abroad, which would help them escape poverty and misery. On September 2, R&AW issued an alert to Delhi Police about Bangladeshi girls being trafficked from New Delhi to Dubai, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  “An India-based unidentified contact reached out  on August 31 to his Bangladesh-based female associate and informed that he has ‘managed’ the necessary liaisons in New Delhi through which he would be able to obtain visas for Bangladeshi nationals for Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Dubai,” the alert said.

The R&AW note also observed that the price for each girl was `6 lakh.  Similar alerts were issued by Central agencies on trafficking of women from Nepal, West Bengal, Jharkhand and the north eastern states of India.

Central agencies had alerted the Delhi Police, Bureau of Immigration and airport officials about the racket. “We receive alerts about women trafficked to the Middle East for sexual exploitation,” said a top senior police officer.

A senior police officer from Nepal is currently visiting Delhi to meet with Indian security agencies with details of girls missing from his country over the past two years, who are suspected to have been sent to the Middle East by Delhi-based traffickers. On September 11, he held meetings with various senior police and intelligence officers.

In May this year, Nepal’s Central Investigation Bureau shared information with Indian intelligence agencies that girls and women are being trafficked to Syria and are sold to ISIS terrorists as “sex slaves”. The Nepal government came across the information in April when it busted a group of traffickers, who sold the doomed females for merely `50,000 each to terror organisations in Syria to work in the sex trade.

The Nepal police agencies also said that the women are trafficked through India, especially Delhi. They had nabbed six Nepal-based agents and an Indian  trafficker, Tarun Rojan Khanagwal, who hails from Delhi.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Dinesh Gupta told The Sunday Standard that investigation in cases registered at Delhi airport reveals a vast network of traffickers using the airport as transit point.

The Reema case led to further revelations that more Nepalese girls were brought to Delhi and were given accommodation in Mahipalpur. The police conducted a raid on July 25 and arrested two Nepalese agents, Vishnu Tamang and Daya Ram. Twenty-one Nepalese girls  and women aged between 20 and 35 were rescued. They were to leave for Dubai.

The arrested Nepalese agents told the police that in the last two months,  they had trafficked more than 700 women to Middle East countries for `5,000 per person as commission.

“Delhi and Mumbai have become the transit points for trafficking of Nepalese and Bangladeshi and Indian girls and women,” said a top intelligence official.  In Delhi, around 106 women have been rescued so far this year; around 20 percent of them were bound for foreign shores. Last year, police rescued 235 women, while in 2013, the number was 160, including 43 from Nepal. In 2012, a total of 185 women and girls were rescued, of which 42 were from Nepal. But senior cops say the real figure of women being smuggled out for sexual exploitation is much larger. Shockingly, no database is maintained by any of the agencies. So far this year, police have arrested 62 human traffickers, including eight women, from Delhi. Last year, 199 were arrested, including 31 women.  In 2013, the figure was much higher with 286 arrests, which included 40 women.  The figures clearly suggest that Delhi Police has gone soft on human traffickers in the last two years.

A senior Delhi Police officer said, “It is very tough to detect girls who are more than 18 years old and are being trafficked to Middle East countries, since they leave the country with valid work permits.  Only late do they come to know that they will be forced into prostitution or  become bonded labourer.” He said that until their family members approach them with complaints, they are unable to know about the victim’s condition and moreover, they come from other states than Delhi.

With time, the traffickers have outsmarted the security agencies. Only novice agents send their prey abroad directly.  It is pertinent to note that there is no direct flight to Middle East countries from Kathmandu.  The Nepal Government has asked India to allow Nepal citizens to fly to the Middle East only after getting the necessary clearance from Protector of Emigrants.

“Emigration Clearance from the office of Protector of Emigrants is required for 18 countries—the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Malaysia, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Brunei, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Syria, Lebanon, Thailand, Iraq (emigration banned),” said a senior Delhi Police officer.

Like the Nepali women at the Saudi diplomat’s house, many make an ill-fated journey to the big city

180777_10150095433357197_5102103_nThe absence of a law for domestic workers means they not only get exploited but also find no redress. Meet Monika, an adivasi woman from Bengal who has worked without pay for three years.

“Nothing can be done in her case as there is no law for domestic workers.” The official at the labour welfare department in Karampura looked apologetic as he explained the government was working on such a law. Meanwhile, nothing could be done for 23-year-old Monika Mardi, who stood quietly by in the office.

Nearly three years ago, Monika had left home after a fight with her elder sister. Home was in Goriagram, in West Bengal’s Birbhum district. The Mardis, an adivasi family, own a piece of land there. It’s a large family and money has always been short, depending on what the land yields.

Monika was in touch with a Malati Besra, a woman from the neighbouring Boddopaharigram, who helped young girls from Bengal and Jharkhand get to Delhi and other faraway places. “I said I wanted to work, and I didn’t tell anyone at home,” Monika recalls. She was offered a job that would pay Rs 3,500 a month by agents in Delhi. They took Monika to a businessman’s house in Kirti Nagar in West Delhi, where she had to do almost all the work in a household of six people.

Three years later, she hasn’t seen any of the money, she doesn’t know her home anymore and has lost all her Bengali. “They said they [the agents] took your money. Maybe the family gave them money, I don’t know. They wouldn’t let me eat until I had finished all the day’s work. They wouldn’t let me go out of the house. I wanted to go home and they said it’s not time for you to go yet,” she said.

Back home, her family tried to get in touch with Monika, with little success. Her brother-in-law, Ghasiram Hembrom, said they spoke to her six months after she had reached Delhi. “She said she was doing well, though she hadn’t got any of the money yet.” Then he lost her number and Malati became the only point of contact.

“She kept saying Monika was fine but wouldn’t let us talk to her,” Hembrom said. Was Malati known in the village? Yes, he said. Had she taken any other girls to Delhi from there? Yes, eight or nine, or maybe 12, nobody was sure. Did anyone know what had happened to these girls? No.

“Finally, after pressing Malati for a long time, I was allowed to come to Delhi to meet her. The employers still wouldn’t agree to send her back home. They said they would bring her in June and that they had paid her salary to the agents, Sanjay Kumar and Miri,” said Hembrom.

As Hembrom was about to board his train back to Birbhum, the agents handed him Rs 15,000, though by then Monika was owed much more. “They threatened me and forced me to sign a blank piece of paper,” he said. Back in Delhi to collect his sister-in-law again, he is still receiving threats. “Meyeke ki kore niye jao ami dekhchi (Let me see how you take the girl back),” Miri had said.

The invisible multitude

Monika is only one of a swelling stream of women who make the ill-fated journey to Delhi and other big cities, both within the country and abroad. Women who are invisible, trapped behind the closed doors of affluent households. The ordeal faced by the Nepali women at the Saudi diplomat’s house in Gurgaon has suddenly drawn attention to this multitude, and by extension, to organised crime on a frightening scale.
“Bengal is both a source and transit point for trafficking,” said Sarbari Bhattacharya, officer in charge of the anti-human trafficking cell of the West Bengal CID. “From Nepal, the girls are taken to Darjeeling, and then to Bagdogra or New Jalpaiguri, from where they travel to other parts of the country or abroad. Girls from Bangladesh also travel to Kolkata, and are passed off as Bengali girls in other parts of the country.”

Trafficking is particularly rampant in North 24 Parganas, Siliguri, Darjeeling, Cooch Behar and the Sunderbans. Other hot spots are Upper Assam and areas in Jharkhand, such as the districts of Gumla, Kunthi and Simdega. In Andhra Pradesh, there is a flow of workers going out from Kadapa district, East and West Godavari districts, Visakhapatnam and old Hyderabad, mainly to the Middle East. Kannur in Kerala is also a hub for trafficking to the Middle East.

“There is a large influx from Nepal since the country bans women from going abroad as domestic workers,” said Sister Lissy Joseph of the Andhra Pradesh Domestic Workers’ Welfare Trust. “We have open borders with Nepal so the women come to India and then travel abroad illegally. India also prohibits women under 30 from going abroad as domestic workers, but the rule is never followed.”

The volume of this human flow is anybody’s guess. “In 2014, 18,000 went missing from Bengal, 1,200 from Jharkhand, and that was according to police records. I have information of 5,000 missing women and children from Gumla district alone. And many more disappearances go unreported since these are tribal districts and people are scared to approach the police,” says Rishi Kant, who works with an NGO called Shakti Vahini. “I have seen 5,000 women go out from Kadapa district,” said Joseph.

“Until we actually find the victims, we can’t say whether it is a case of an affair, or ordinary migration or actual trafficking,” Bhattacharya said. But sometimes, consent may be extracted through promises of love or employment.

Shadow rings

The modus operandi of the trafficking rings in Bengal, at least, can often blur the lines. “Very often, the dalal will romance the girl and ask her out for phuchkas. Then he’ll mix something in the phuchkas and spirit her away while she is still drugged,” said Kant.

In Andhra Pradesh, where the movement is towards the Middle East, these agents have set up an effective system to help women avoid immigration clearances. “The government does not have centres in the villages but the agents can reach there,” said Joseph. “There are three or four levels of agents, collecting money from these women, and there are more agents waiting on that side. They usually distribute illegal visas for a fee from the women and also collect money in advance from the employer as well. As of last year, there were 168 women trapped in Bahrain’s open jails.”

It doesn’t help that the traffickers are shadow organisations that have largely evaded detection. “By the time a complaint is filed, it has already been 48 hours,” said Bhattacharya. “By then the girl could be in any other part of the country or in another country. And usually we don’t have any particulars of the trafficker. Even if we arrest the middleman in the village, they will only have a phone number and a false name. But the person giving them instructions will have discarded the phone the moment the operation’s done. Sometimes, by the time the case comes to us, it’s been years and it is then impossible to trace the girl. Many girls are being lost this way.”

These are highly organised rings, with their members in constant contact with one another. The Jharkhand police did manage to catch 47 dalals recently, said Kant, but many more remain on the loose.

What the law cannot see

Monika’s case reveals how vulnerable you are to fantasies spun by others if you are poor and want a better life, but also how little hope of justice you have if you are an adivasi, from a rural home and employed in domestic work.

When Monika disappeared, Ghasiram said he didn’t go to the police, “Because we are adivasis and they would only create trouble.” He works with an NGO in Birbhum, called Uthnau, which put him in touch with Ananya Biswas and Yuvraj Lohar, a couple in Delhi who help the NGO.

After they collected Monika from her employers’ place, they went to the Kirti Nagar police station to file a complaint, but Ghasiram and Monika were harassed and interrogated instead. When contacted by Scroll, the station house officer at Kirti Nagar police station merely said that Monika had filed her complaint and left. Next, they tried the labour welfare department. There, the labour officer in charge patiently explained the law to an incredulous audience.

There was no way Monika could claim redress, he said. Domestic workers were part of the unorganised sector, which was largely unprotected by the existing labour laws. The Domestic Workers’ Welfare and Social Security Act 2010 has been stuck in the pipeline for five years now. If they could provide the details of the placement agency, something might be done about it in future. But even that would take a while. “There is a Delhi Private Placement Agencies (Regulation) Bill,” said the official. “But it’s stuck because they are still working out the rules.”

If Monika wanted to recover the money she was owed, she could try filing a civil suit at Tees Hazari. Punishment for employers was near impossible in these cases, he said, there were simply no laws to recognise that they had committed an offence.

The absence of legislation is a problem faced by law enforcement agencies across the country. For abducted minors, there are a number of laws, such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act. “But for women, Section 366 is the only provision of the Indian Penal Code that we can charge the offenders with,” said Bhattacharya. It prescribes punishment for “kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her to marriage etc.”

“In theory, we have several measures, like a special task force and a state action plan. But in practice, much more needs to be done.”

The point of return

Maybe the tide of women travelling to different parts of the world cannot be turned. “It’s no use having restrictions,” Joseph said. “Agriculture is shrinking and there is no other employment. Women will go abroad to ensure a better future for their families. Without the required skill and with no language training, these women are exploited even more by their employers. In Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the government trains these women so that they can be valuable additions to the workforce. The Indian government should do the same.”

But for now, Monika wants to go home. Delhi has given her neither money nor a better life. Yet Birbhum is a home she hasn’t visited in three years, where the very language has become strange to her.

“The rehabilitation story is one that never gets told,” says Bhattacharya. “Once a girl leaves home and returns after years, she may never be accepted in society again.” The women who endured years of an ordeal now move in a cloud of suspicion in their  native villages. So for the lucky few who do make it back, it is often a rough homecoming.

Gurgaon victims among those trafficked after Nepal Earthquake?

Spurt in human trafficking from Nepal after April devastation, say Indian agencies

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By Devesh Pandey/ Published in The Hindu

Two Nepalese women sexually exploited allegedly by a Saudi Arabian diplomat in Gurgaon are victims of a well-developed human trafficking network operating from Nepal.

The number of women and children falling prey to the network has increased after April’s earthquake in the Himalayan nation.

Sources in Indian agencies say the two women are “luckier” than hundreds of other victims of highly organised networks operating from Nepal.

Though the exact numbers on forced migration of Nepalese nationals are not available, latest data with the Sashastra Seema Bal that guards the 1,751-km border with Nepal show a five-fold increase in trafficking post-earthquake.

Till April 24, the SSB registered eight cases involving 47 victims and 12 traffickers. As was feared by experts, the SSB began recording a significant increase in number of cases after the disaster struck.

Sources said 38 more cases had been recorded and 126 victims rescued with the arrest of 51 agents from Nepal, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Officials said immediately after the earthquake SSB’s Interaction Team and the 4,500-strong civil (intelligence) wing were activated to take preventive measures at 470 border outposts.

One of the first major human trafficking rackets unearthed after earthquake was by the Delhi Police had unearthed a major human trafficking racket with the rescue of 30 Nepalese girls at Delhi’s IGI airport in July.

“Governments of the bordering states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal have issued instructions to all the districts to check human trafficking along the border. In fact, the UP government has also got closed-circuit television cameras installed in the border districts for effective surveillance,” said Ravi Kant of non-government organisation Shakti Vahini.

There has been a gradual increase in the trafficking of Nepalese girls for commercial sexual exploitation in the past few years, officials in SSB and activists say.

A recent Central Bureau of Investigation study of the data available with Bureau of Immigration, Foreign Regional Registration Office, airline firms and major travel agents, indicated that up to 8,000 Nepalese girls had been trafficked to Dubai via Delhi airport to be pushed into prostitution in recent years.

The most common pretext employed was a projected tour to Nairobi via Dubai. But then the victims would be de-planed in Dubai, their tickets to Nairobi and hotel bookings cancelled.

Officials point out that the Nepalese government order barring women below 30 years of age from boarding a flight at Tribhuvan International Airport (Kathmandu) to major trafficking destinations if not accompanied by a family member, has only contributed to the trafficking syndicates using Delhi and other Indian cities for taking out their victims.

Traffickers have devises land routes, opening up several gateways along the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, most active entry points being Sunauli (UP) and Siliguri (West Bengal). “All the routes close to railway stations with links to major transits like Delhi are in use,” said an SSB officer. As per an estimate, there are about 100 unofficial border entry points with Nepal.

Expressing concern over the sudden increase in trafficking cases, Archana Tamang, international consultant at Human Rights and Equality in Kathmandu, told The Hindu: “The Nepal government will soon launch a survey to gather details of post-quake victims of trafficking. Good news is that on the Indian side, NGOs and police agencies have been taking effective measures. There is a need to check shady recruitment agencies involved in the racket.”

However, Mr. Kant pointed out, in many cases it becomes difficult for Indian agencies to take action in cases where Nepalese women are found travelling on genuine papers.

“In 2012, the CBI had in coordination with Shakti Vahini intercepted 70 Nepalese nationals. However, they had to be let off as they were carrying valid papers….all of them get lured by a better job prospect,” he said, adding that there is also a need for effective implementation of law by the Protector General of Emigrants to put a check on illegal activities of Indian recruitment agencies.