Many Nepali women, men, and children have been victims of human trafficking. Previously, traffickers used to take many Nepalis to different cities in India, where the victims would be forced to engage in physical labour as household, restaurant, or factory workers, while many Nepali women would be sold to brothels besides being forced to work as labourers or household maids. In current times, when many countries have opened their borders to our migrant labour, Nepalis are being trafficked to other places for the same reasons. Traffickers smuggle Nepalis in order to offer them with lucrative professions. Most times, trafficked Nepalis are forced to labour as modern-day slaves, and some, particularly women, are mistreated physically and sexually. There have been reports of women being sexually molested while working in other countries.
Recently, several Nepali women found themselves on the receiving end in one Southeast Asian country — Cambodia — where they were compelled to take part in sex and subjected to physical assault. A young lady reported to Anti-Human Trafficking Investigation Bureau (AHTIB) of Nepal Police about being persuaded into a lucrative work at a Chinese-owned construction business in Cambodia, where she was mistreated. The victim gave the smuggler about four hundred thousand rupees. According to the authorities, the same smuggler, who is now part of their network, has taken over 40 women to Cambodia, where they have been raped or exploited sexually. For many years, Nepal’s human trafficking problem has been a subject of worry. According to the National Human Rights Commission’s annual report, 35,000 Nepalis are victims of human trafficking each year. About, 12,000 individuals were trafficked for labour, 7,000 for adult entertainment, and 3,000 were youngsters.
The kind, pattern, and manner of human trafficking episodes have changed. There have been reports of human trafficking under the guise of international work, educational counselling, inter-country marriage, tourism, cultural programmes, and adoption. In the previous four years (from fiscal year 2018/19 to May 2021), 868 traffickers, comprising 617 women and 252 males, were apprehended. The information is based on police reports and reported instances. During the four fiscal years, 1,445 people traffickers were detained, while 577 others were on the absconding list. According to the research, around 1.5 million individuals in Nepal are in danger of being trafficked. Some 1.2 million of those at risk are females aged 13 to 19 from rural Nepal. Similarly, around 21,000 individuals are at risk as adults for entertainment, about 200,000 for overseas work, and 100,000 for child labour in various locations across the globe.
The aforementioned conditions provide a bleak picture of human trafficking in Nepal. As the number of innocent Nepalis willing to travel overseas as migrant workers grows, many of them become victims of people smugglers, who prefer to profit more at the expense of unsuspecting Nepali employees. Poverty, a lack of understanding, and ignorance of current laws, rules, and regulations are some factors that often contribute to an increase in human trafficking instances in our nation. Though our authorities have made several provisions regarding foreign employment in order to help stop trafficking of innocent Nepalis, they appear ineffective because traffickers have a tendency to invent new ways and methods to smuggle innocent Nepalis to various destinations where they suffer physically, mentally, and sexually. Our authorities urgently need to introduce and execute strong measures to combat human trafficking in the nation.