U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - Nepal

Nepal (Tier 2)

Nepal is a source country of women and girls trafficked primarily to India for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and debt bondage. Nepali women traveling to the Middle East in search of work have been put into situations of coerced labor and other slave-like conditions. Internal trafficking also takes place in Nepal. Women are trafficked from rural areas to cities for commercial sexual exploitation and children are placed into debt bondage or other exploitative child labor by their impoverished parents. An ongoing Maoist insurgency has used violence to wrest control of remote areas from the government; many trafficking victims originate from those areas. The insurgents have forcibly conscripted girls and boys.

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 despite severe resource constraints. Pioneering efforts have been undertaken in preventing trafficking. More vigorous efforts to prosecute all forms of trafficking, stronger coordination of law enforcement efforts, and serious efforts to curb corruption will improve Nepal's anti-trafficking efforts.


The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MWCSW) supported local, regional, and national information campaigns on trafficking including radio and audio-visual programs, booklets, pamphlets, and signboards. As a pilot program, the government established "Village Vigilance Committees" in some districts to train local residents to recognize trafficking and alert authorities. The MWCSW publishes a newsletter and operates a program in 47 districts to emphasize the importance of sending children to school, a key component of the government's campaign to eliminate child labor. The Ministry of Labor requires all workers traveling overseas to attend an orientation session explaining worker rights and safety issues. Government-initiated income generating projects have been introduced in 3900 villages; those projects include providing micro credit loans, introducing savings programs, and encouraging female entrepreneurs.


The Human Trafficking Control Act of 1986 prohibits selling persons and provides for penalties of up to twenty years imprisonment for traffickers. However, this legislation does not criminalize the separation of minors from their legal guardians with the intent of trafficking. Thus, trafficking children out of Nepal may not be prosecutable as a crime until it is too late. Last year 92 cases against traffickers were taken to court; prosecution and sentencing statistics are not yet available. Nepal's open land border with India does not allow for stringent monitoring. Border officials receive training from non-governmental and international organizations on how to recognize potential trafficking victims. Former trafficking victims patrol along side border officials and help them spot potential trafficking situations. The Governments of Nepal and India have agreed to form a Joint Cross Border Committee against Trafficking in order to collaborate on investigations and more efficiently share information about traffickers.


The Government of Nepal provides limited resources to non-governmental organizations to provide victim assistance for rehabilitation, counseling, and medical care. Victims are not jailed, detained, or deported. Once a victim files a civil suit or makes a criminal complaint against a trafficker, the government will prosecute the case at no cost to the victim.


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