A section of manpower agencies have been forcing migrant workers into unpleasant jobs

Kathmandu, February 24

The Metropolitan Police Crime Division today carried out coordinated raids in nearly one-and-a-half dozen manpower agencies in the Kathmandu Valley on suspicion of their role in human trafficking.

The raids were conducted in manpower agencies based in Lazimpat, Baneshwor, Patan, Gaushala, Maharajgunj and Basundhara areas.

SSP Sarbendra Khanal, MPCD in-charge, said the action follows complaints about manpower agencies leaving employment seekers in the lurch in foreign land and cheating and forcing the victims into unpleasant jobs.

Police investigations show that forced labour abroad and human trafficking are facilitated by a section of manpower agencies engaged in fraudulent practices.

“We raided as many as 17 manpower agencies and arrested eight suspects with documents for further investigation,” Khanal told The Himalayan Times.

Meanwhile, police officials have been working with various national and international non-government organisations to rescue the victims of human trafficking from foreign countries.

For this, a hotline (1177) has been set up at the MPCD to collect information about human trafficking and traffickers, said SSP Khanal. The 24×7 helpline was established after human trafficking flourished on the pretext of foreign employment, abroad study and transnational marriage.

The caller should dial 9771177 while making a call from abroad.

According to statistics maintained by the government, nearly four million Nepalis are employed abroad, mainly in Malaysia and Gulf countries.

Likewise, more than 635 manpower agencies have been recruiting and sending Nepali migrant workers abroad.

Despite the enactment of Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act-2007 and Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Rules-2008, lack of effective implementation of laws and awareness-raising programmes has resulted in the spread of the trafficking rings deep and far.

Human traffickers have been capitalising on the terrain of the country, lack of employment opportunity, low education level and poverty to lure women and girls to foreign countries with the promise of lucrative jobs and better future, said officials.

The victims feel cheated only when they are left to fend for themselves in a foreign land. It is the second largest criminal industry after drug trafficking.