U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nepal
|Publisher||United States Department of State|
|Author||Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons|
|Publication Date||12 June 2007|
|Cite as||United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nepal, 12 June 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/467be3ca28.html [accessed 22 December 2014]|
Nepal (Tier 2)
Nepal is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Children are trafficked internally and to India and the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation or forced marriage, as well as to India and within the country for involuntary servitude as child soldiers, domestic servants, and circus entertainment or factory workers. Nepalese women are trafficked to India and to countries of the Middle East for commercial sexual exploitation. They also migrate willingly – though sometimes illegally – to Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, the United States, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and other Gulf states to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude such as withholding of passports and other restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Despite the Government of Nepal's ban on traveling to Iraq for work, some Nepalese who believe they are being offered jobs in Jordan or Kuwait travel there, and then are later deceived and trafficked into involuntary servitude in Iraq.
The Government of Nepal does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Effective implementation of anti-trafficking policies is hampered by political instability and limited resources. The absence of local government in rural areas as a result of the decade-long insurgency has increased the risk of trafficking while constraining the government's efficiency. Despite these limitations, Nepal maintained its efforts to prosecute sex trafficking offenses and expanded local Women's Police Cells to 24 stations. The government, however, was not able to adequately fund or staff the Women's Cells, limiting their effectiveness. Nepal also did not demonstrate a concerted effort to criminally prosecute and adequately punish labor recruiters who use deceptive practices to force workers into involuntary servitude abroad.
Nepal made significant efforts to prosecute cases of trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation this year, but made inadequate progress in prosecuting and punishing trafficking for involuntary servitude. Nepal does not prohibit all forms of trafficking in persons, but prohibits slavery, the selling of human beings, and forced prostitution through its Human Trafficking Control Act of 1986. Prescribed punishments under this law – 5 to 20 years' imprisonment – are sufficiently stringent and commensurate with those for other grave crimes. Fraudulent or deceptive labor recruitment is punishable by three to five years' imprisonment or a fine or both. From July 15, 2005 through July 14, 2006, Nepal filed a total of 393 sex trafficking cases at the district, appellate and Supreme Court levels. Of these cases, 87 were prosecuted to conviction, 60 persons were acquitted, and 246 cases are pending. The government does not keep records on sentences and fines, but NGO lawyers report that, in over half of the cases the government prosecuted, traffickers received the maximum prison sentence. Nepal did not report any cases filed against corrupt government officials who may have facilitated trafficking by taking bribes at the India-Nepal border or engaging in document fraud.
The government demonstrated only slight progress in adequately punishing labor recruiters who use deceptive recruitment practices to coerce Nepali workers abroad for labor exploitation. This reporting period, the government reported receiving 786 complaints against agencies and individual recruiters, canceling licenses for 116 manpower agencies, and ordering compensation to workers totaling $450,000. However, Nepal did not report any prison sentences imposed on agency owners or employees found to be engaging in labor trafficking through the use of deceptive or fraudulent recruitment practices. Nepal should expand efforts to vigorously investigate and adequately punish recruitment agency owners and employees believed to be involved in trafficking, and should improve its law enforcement efforts against corrupt officials facilitating trafficking.
Nepal made modest improvements in its efforts to protect victims of trafficking. The government expanded the number of Women's Police Cells operating throughout the country from 20 to 24 in 22 districts to assist trafficking victims. Although the government does not directly provide legal aid, limited funding is provided to local NGOs to provide trafficking victims assistance with rehabilitation, medical care, and other services. Victims are not punished, but foreign victims are not offered legal alternatives to removal to countries in which they may face hardship or retribution. Though Nepal encourages victims to assist in investigations against their traffickers, lack of government resources and measures to ensure witness safety against threats by traffickers, as well as discrimination in court and in society, often discourage victims from pursuing legal recourse. The government does not provide victim protection services for men and women trafficked abroad for involuntary servitude. NGOs indicate that Nepalese embassies overseas lack personnel and other resources to help trafficking victims who face involuntary servitude in foreign countries. The government should increase protection efforts for victims of involuntary servitude by assisting in their repatriation, and adequately training government officials posted in destination countries on methods of identifying and protecting trafficking victims.
Nepal's measures to prevent trafficking improved only slightly since last year. The government continued to implement anti-trafficking information campaigns in conjunction with local NGOs, and maintained orientation sessions for all workers traveling overseas. The effectiveness of these orientation sessions, however, is limited since this requirement is only enforced on workers going abroad legally through registered agencies, some of whom chose not to receive the training. The government should put in place a more effective education program and develop mechanisms to prevent trafficking of women and girls across the porous Indo-Nepal border. Nepal has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.