Kathmandu, November 12
Six Nepali youths, who were trafficked and held hostage in southeastern African nation Malawi, have been rescued unharmed and sent home.
Malawi police had recently rescued them as per the request of the Anti-human trafficking bureau of Nepal Police. According to AHTB, the youths were lured to Malawi via Vietnam, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Jordan, Dubai and Azerbaijan with the promise of taking them to America. A few days after the youths landed in Malawi, they were taken hostage in a house near Blantyre city. The victims managed to reach out their families back home and pleaded for their rescue.
Kin of the victims lodged a complaint at AHTB on November 6, seeking its intervention in the case. “AHTB coordinated with Malawi police, leading to their safe rescue and arrest of Nazir Ahamad, a Malawian national of Indian origin there,” said Superintendent of Police Govinda Thapaliya, AHTB spokesperson. The victims were sent home yesterday. SP Govinda said Malawi police had initiated legal action against Ahamad in accordance with its law. Ahamad was the owner of the house where the Nepalis were held hostage.
The victims, who were sent home, told the police that they travelled for 144 days to reach Malawi via different transit countries before being taken hostage. According to AHTB, it has launched further investigation into the involvement of Nepal-based international rackets in trafficking and taking hostage of the youths in Malawi and probably in many other countries.
Cases of human trafficking are often trivialised by linking them with other aspects such as migration for employment. “It is claimed that trafficking victims refuse to come forward with complaints for action against their perpetrators. Lack of effective coordination among non-government organisations working against human trafficking and government’s inability to crack down trafficking cases thriving under the guise of foreign employment are reasons why cases of the heinous crime often go unreported,” said a recent report published by the National Human Rights Commission. It is estimated that around 35,000 persons, including 15,000 women and 5,00 girls were victims of human trafficking in 2018-19, according to the report.
The web of trafficking for worst forms of slavery and sexual exploitation has been gradually spreading across African and Latin American countries. Human traffickers have been capitalising on lack of employment, their low level of education and poverty to lure women, girls and men into foreign countries, with the promise of lucrative jobs and better future. The victims realise that they have been cheated only when they are left to fend for themselves in a foreign land.
A version of this article appears in print on November 13, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.