NHRC reports alarming rise in trafficking rate

  • 60.34 pc growth in human trafficking in one-and-half yrs
- NIRMALA ADHIKARI, Lalitpur

Sep 1, 2014-

Nineteen-year-old Sita Gurung (name changed) of Sindhupalchok was trafficked to a brothel in India by her own relative. She was an easy prey for the trafficker as she was desperately looking for a job to support her family.

It was only after reaching India that Gurung came to know about her being duped into sex trafficking. Forced into prostitution for over a year, she managed to flee the brothel with the help of a customer. Aided by an organisation, she filed a case against the perpetrator in Nepal and brought him to justice.

Thousands of Nepali women are trafficked, most of them lured by friends and relatives into false promises of income. Their condition worsens when, in most cases, justice becomes elusive even after yearning for years for it.

A report released by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday shows the rate of human trafficking has increased by 60.34 percent in one-and-a-half years. The number of people trafficked or attempted for trafficking increased to 29,000 in 2012/13, compared to 11,500 in 2011.

The report titled “Trafficking in Persons especially on Women and Children in Nepal” concludes trafficking is common for three major purposes--sexual exploitation, labour exploitation and entertainment.

Studies have shown poverty, gender-based violence, unemployment, lack of education, gender inequalities, awareness of safe migration and laws related to combating violence make women and children susceptible to trafficking. The Global Slavery Index Report (2013) ranks Nepal fifth among 162 countries in modern day slavery.

Releasing the report, the rights watchdog urged the government to formulate a national policy on prevention and combating trafficking and revise the existing National Plan of Actions and other acts and rules accordingly.

Bed Prasad Bhattarai, acting secretary at the NHRC, said controlling human trafficking has become a challenge as the government has failed to amend and implement the laws against trafficking. The government enacted Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Act in 2007 to protect and rehabilitate victims. However, challenges remain with the failure of the government to effectively implement the Act, he said.

The National Committee on Combating Trafficking formed in 2007 remains ineffective. “The NCCT needs to accelerate its activities to control trafficking in persons,” said Bhattarai.

The Commission has asked the government also to set up and expand the temporary survivors’ shelter in countries where the number of women migrant workers is high, and adopt victim-centric legal framework, enforcement and prosecution. Judge Tek Narayan Kunwar said cases of trafficking are on rise as there are problems in investigation, prosecution and adjudication provisioned by laws. “The existing Act and other laws need amendment to ensure justice to victims,” he said.

Published: 02-09-2014 09:14

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