Kathmandu, April 4
The government has said the revelations of the Sun newspaper that child survivors of Nepal’s earthquake and other vulnerable children are being sold to wealthy British families as domestic slaves, is ‘shocking’ and ‘alarming’.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Tara Prasad Pokharel said, “We have taken the British newspaper’s claim seriously and will investigate accordingly.” The British tabloid reported today that boys and girls as young as 10 years are being sold for just £5,300 (approximately Rs 800,000) by gangs operating in Jalandhar, Punjab.
The gangs are preying on the children of Nepali refugees, as well as destitute Indian families, it added.
Home ministry spokesperson Yadav Koirala told The Himalayan Times that the government would leave no stone unturned to investigate the claims and book those involved in such ‘inhuman’ activity.
He said boys and girls, as well as women, were reportedly being allured to cross the border on the pretext of shopping or visiting towns before being trafficked to different parts of India and other countries.
“We have given specific instructions to the officials in order to control unusual movement of people, especially of children and women across the border, and ask them if they are aware where they are going,” he said.
British Home Secretary Theresa May has also urged UK police to investigate into the findings of the tabloid. Secretary May called child trafficking a “truly abhorrent crime” and urged the National Crime Agency to investigate into the findings, according to the Guardian.
She said the paper should “share its disturbing findings” with the agency, “so that appropriate action can be taken against the criminals who profit from this trade”.
“No child, anywhere in the world, should be taken away from their home and forced to work in slavery,” she is quoted as saying.
According to the newspaper, its undercover team was offered boys and girls as young as 10 years for just £5,250 by a gang selling children of Nepali refugees and penniless Indian families like cattle.
Slave trader Makkhan Singh lined up kids to pick from.
“We have supplied lads who have gone on to the UK,” the British tabloid quoted Singh as saying.