The Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau of Nepal Police has arrested a most-wanted woman for her alleged involvement in trafficking 25 women - mainly from disadvantaged groups - abroad in the guise of getting them decent jobs in Kuwait.

According to the AHTB, Sabitri Mukhiya alias Sabitridevi Malaha, 40, of Sunsurai was held from her home district recently. The victims were taken to India the through Nepal-India open border of Saptari on 21 February 2020 before being flown to Sri Lanka via New Delhi Airport.

An official at the AHTB said the women were kept in a New Delhi-based apartment for 12 days to make arrangements for their flight to Sri Lanka. The victims had been taught to tell the New Delhi Airport authorities that they were going to Sri Lanka to worship at the Sita Mata temple.

Upon reaching Colombo of Sri Lanka, the women were taken hostage in a house. Acting on information, Colombo police raided the house and sent them to prison for 13 months for illegal stay.

As per the AHTB, Mukhiya and her associates had facilitated the victims to acquire their passports saying that they would earn Rs 35,000 a month in Kuwait. The victims were convinced that they would land in Kuwait through New Delhi and Sri Lanka. The woman were repatriated to Nepal on June 24 by the Government of Nepal and sheltered at Maiti Nepal.

During investigation into the trafficking ring, the victims blamed Mukhiya for the harrowing ordeal they underwent leading to her arrest.

Based on investigation, the AHTB filed a human trafficking charge against her at Kathmandu District Court through Kathmandu District Attorney's Office. The court remanded Mukhiya to the Central Jail until the final verdict, on July 30.

Meanwhile, the AHTB said the search for other suspects involved in the trafficking ring was under way.

Trafficking takes place in a network chain and it is considered an organised crime. According to a report of the National Human Rights Commission, traffickers use different modus operandi for luring victims.

Some victims are trafficked with coercive measures such as threats. Others are tempted by false promises of decent jobs and handsome salary in foreign countries.

Many girls and women are trafficked to foreign countries on the pretext of visiting new places and visiting their relatives abroad.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.