Unscrupulous recruiters continue to exploit migrants: AI

Kathmandu, June 6

The Nepal government is failing to address rampant deception and extortion in the country’s labour recruitment business, putting migrant workers at risk of forced labour abroad and leaving them with crippling debts, according to a report published today by Amnesty International (AI).

“All over Nepal, unscrupulous recruiters are getting away with destroying lives — illegally charging aspiring job-seekers exorbitant fees to get jobs abroad, and then abandoning them overseas when things go wrong,” a media release has quoted James Lynch, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Global Issues programme, as saying.

“Migrant workers contribute nearly a third of Nepal’s GDP in money they send back home, yet the government spends a tiny fraction of its budget on their needs. It is high time that this equation changes and migrant workers receive the protection they are entitled to,” Lynch said.

Amnesty International researchers interviewed 127 Nepali migrant workers and dozens of government officials in 2016 and 2017, in eight districts of Nepal, for the report titled ‘Turning People into Profits: Abusive Recruitment, Trafficking and Forced Labour of Nepali Migrant Workers’.

Almost all workers the organisation spoke to had been subject to some form of abuse at the hands of private recruiters.

The Nepal government has taken some potentially positive steps towards tackling the pattern of abuse suffered by workers, most notably the ‘Free Visa, Free Ticket’ policy, which took effect in July 2015. “However, none of the workers AI spoke to were able to find a recruitment agency that would not charge them for visa and ticket costs,” as per the release.