Nepal | July 08, 2020

Editorial: Fake marriage

The Himalayan Times
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Awareness must be launched in the rural areas from where mostly uneducated women are lured into fake marriages with foreigners

Human trafficking in multiple forms are on the rise in the country due to illiteracy, lack of work opportunities and awareness. In the past, human traffickers used to traffic women and girls only to India. Now, they have shifted their illicit racket to the Middle East, Africa and South Korea. The latest trend in human trafficking has switched to China, where young and good-looking but uneducated Nepali women, mostly from the villages, are trafficked there with promises of a ‘blissful married life abroad’ through fake marriages or “bride-buying practice”. In a crackdown on such practices, the Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau of Nepal Police (AHTB) has arrested 10 persons, including four Chinese nationals, for allegedly operating a bride trafficking ring in the guise of ‘cross-country marriage’. The suspects of the transnational trafficking racket are from China’s Hubei Province, where bride-buying is very common. Their Nepal-based associates, identified as Rina Tamang Bibirani, Parbati Gurung, Amrita Gurung, Usha Ghimire, Roj Tamang and Bharat Tamang, have also been rounded up on charges of their involvement in trafficking of Nepali girls and women to China as brides. According to the AHTB, the Chinese men had paid up to one million rupees for a ‘bride’.

This is not the first time that police have busted a fake marriage racket in Nepal. The first of such cases involving Chinese and Nepali nationals in a marriage using trickery was reported in 2015 . The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had also taken action against a group of Chinese and Nepali people on charges of their involvement in such a racket. After this incident surfaced in the media, the Nepal Police had launched a crackdown on publishing a marriage bureau or matrimonial ads in the Nepali media to discourage fake marriages with foreigners. In the recent case, the Chinese nationals mobilised their Nepali accomplices to lure unsuspecting girls and women into fake marriage with the former. After the Nepali women are married, the ‘groom’ can resell his ‘bride’ as personal property in their home country. If this practice continues unabated, many Nepali women are likely to end up there as comfort women or sex workers.

SSP IshwarBabuKarki of the AHTB said the accused have been charged with human trafficking and organised crime. However, the legal provision has it that the concerned authorities at the local levels or at the District Administration Office (DAO) cannot prevent two adult males and females from getting married if they submit a complete set of marriage documents and say that they are getting married without any coercion. They can get their marriage registered either at the local levels or have a court marriage arranged at the DAO. One of the biggest challenges for the law enforcement agencies is how to control such practice. The police alone cannot control fake marriages with foreigners. As reports suggest that this type of marriage has taken place between foreigners and uneducated Nepali women from the rural areas, an awareness campaign must be launched in the targeted communities. Parents or guardians should be kept on the guard to prevent unsuspecting daughters from becoming ‘brides for sale’.

Park elsewhere

The Department of Transport Management has just served a notice calling on motorists not to park their vehicles in the green belt along the Ring Road in Kathmandu. This is the second time they have been notified. The green belt, spanning 25 metres on either side of the Ring Road, has turned into a parking lot, especially on the stretch from Kalanki to Chabahil, as it is no longer possible to park vehicles on the tract from Koteswor to Kalanki, which was recently widened to eight lanes. The green belt that should have added charm to the Ring Road has turned into an eyesore with buses and trucks parked haphazardly there.

Transport entrepreneurs use the green belt for parking because the bus parks lack adequate space for vehicles. Secondly, they do so because they do not have to pay anything. Hence, the concerned authorities must build adequate parking areas for long-route vehicles and charge them accordingly. They must decide on it quickly as the second phase of the Ring Road expansion from Kalanki to Maharajgunj is to start anytime soon. In the mean time, the traffic police must evict all vehicles from the green belt so that they do not cause inconvenience to the pedestrians. 

A version of this article appears in print on September 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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