KATHMANDU: A recent rescue of three teenage girls and two women from Kanchanpur show how vulnerable women are to human trafficking in post-quake situation. Sonu Thapa (name changed) of Sindhupalchowk, 16, is among the five rescued. Maiti Nepal, in association with security personnel, on June 5 had rescued her and she is now taking shelter at Maiti Nepal. Thapa, who was married at the age of 14, said the April 25 earthquake destroyed her house and her husband, a migrant worker, has not been in contact for long. Her in-laws too would not care much about her. Human trafficker took advantage of the situation. She came in contact with Chhiring Tamang, her alleged beau working in Ladakh of India. “My bond with him grew closer and stronger after the quake and he came to Nepal to take me to Ladakh with a promise of marriage and better living opportunity,” she told mediapersons. Tamang told Thapa to cover her face with a shawl and to introduce herself as a native of Dhangadi in case she was questioned by border police and Maiti Nepal officials. She did accordingly. But, the authorities got suspicious and then sent Thapa to Maiti Nepal. By the time security personnel detained her, Tamang had managed to cross the boarder. Thapa realised that she was going to land in big trouble only after psycho-social counselling. Merina Magar (name changed), 20, of Kathmandu, shared almost a similar story. Magar became an easy target of traffickers as her father, the only breadwinner of the family, died after he was buried under the rubble of her mud house. She came in contact with two Indian nationals in her makeshift camp in Kathmandu through her three neighbours, who are also among the rescued. “I decided to go to Patiala in Punjab of India after they assured me of a lucrative job in a party palace. Two of the neighbours who had returned home after working there for some months took me into confidence, saying that they will also be going there. Now I realise I would have landed at a dance bar,” Magar recounted. The Indian agents are said to be at large. DIG Kamal Singh Bam, Central Police Spokesperson, said women and children could be trafficked out of the country in the post-disaster situation as some of them were left homeless or were orphaned. Bearing in mind the suspicious activities in the-quake affected areas and international borders, Nepal Police has stepped up vigilance on makeshift camps, transportation system and border areas, he informed. In addition, a five-member special task force led by DIG Mingmar Lama, Director at the Women and Children Service Directorate, has been formed to curb post-earthquake crimes, especially human trafficking. Anuradha Koirala of Maiti Nepal called for intensified action to curb human trafficking in the post-disaster situation.
Rescued women recount their stories
Published: 08:59 am Jun 10, 2015