Minors in circus human trafficking

KATHMANDU; The Supreme Court (SC) has treated the recruitment of minors in circus as seriously as human trafficking.

Stating that the recruitment of minors in hazardous circus jobs is a violation of children’s fundamental rights and is against the Person Trafficking (Control) Act, 1976, the apex court has termed it a criminal offence requiring prohibition.

The SC also cited a news report published in The Himalayan Times on September 6, which said 12,000 children and women were trafficked into India annually, as well as a report published in The Times of India on August 22.

“Neither the parents nor the society has authority to violate the rights of children by exposing them to hazardous jobs,” a division bench of Justices Bala Ram KC and Rajendra Prasad Koirala said in their full text of judgment made public today.

The bench turned down the appeal filed by traffickers, who sold three children to an Indian circus for IRs 2,000 each.

The bench also upheld punishment slapped by lower courts to traffickers Bir Bahadur Shrestha, Radhika Lama, Thuli Maharjan alias Thuli Didi, Dhan Bahadur Gurung and his second wife. Challenging the Hetauda Appellate Court verdict that upheld the one by Hetauda District Court, the defendants had moved the apex court two years ago.

The traffickers had sold three minors — Sunima Lama, Roshana Lama and Devi Bista — to an Indian circus in 1998. The trio was rescued after a few weeks. Interestingly, their parents were found to have signed contracts for their kids’ deployment there.

The bench also observed that the guardians do not have rights to sign any such


Underlining the need for a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty or Judicial Cooperation Treaty between Nepal and India to curb crimes, the SC directed the government to initiate process to seek the help of the Indian government in this regard.

The court also stressed on the need to create awareness among schoolchildren on trafficking and to adopt Guidelines for Action on Children in the Criminal Justice System while conducting trials on cases related to child rights.