Nepal (Tier 2)
Nepal is a source country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. An estimated 12,000 Nepali women and children are trafficked every year into sexual exploitation in Indian brothels, and an unspecified number are victims of internal sex trafficking. Women also migrate willingly to Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states to work as domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions of involuntary servitude because their passports and wages are withheld and they are physically and sexually abused by their employers. Despite the Government of Nepal's ban on traveling to Iraq for work, some Nepalis are reportedly trafficked into Iraq after being offered jobs in Jordan and Kuwait.
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. Nepal expanded local Women and Children Service Centers to 20 stations, but the government has not yet adequately funded and staffed the Police Women's Cell. In addition, Nepal must improve its anti-corruption efforts in order to meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. In response to allegations that Nepalis are trafficked to Iraq for involuntary servitude, the government should ensure that agencies involved in such trafficking are adequately punished and prevented from doing so again.
The Government of Nepal made significant efforts to prosecute trafficking offenses this year. From July 15, 2004 through July 15, 2005, the government reported prosecuting 347 cases at the district, appellate, and Supreme Court levels, and filing 73 new trafficking cases for prosecution. Of those cases, the government convicted 78 traffickers and 220 cases are still pending. Nepal failed to provide any evidence of investigations or prosecutions of corrupt government officials who may have facilitated trafficking by taking bribes at the India-Nepal border or engaging in document fraud. Although the government investigated 484 complaints against employment agencies and canceled 109 agencies' operating licenses as a result of those investigations, Nepal did not report any criminal prosecutions or jail sentences for any agencies found to be complicit in trafficking. The National Judicial Academy, an annex of the Supreme Court, provided training to judges, government attorneys, and other court staff on proper prosecution of trafficking cases. Nepal should improve its law enforcement efforts against corrupt officials, and continue and expand efforts to vigorously investigate recruitment agencies believed to be involved in trafficking.
Nepal made modest improvements in its efforts to protect victims of trafficking. The government expanded the number of Women and Children Service Centers operating throughout the country from 15 to 20, in 18 districts. It also granted limited funding to local NGOs providing victim assistance. The police reportedly provided legal aid to approximately 700 victims in 2005. Although the government budgeted funds for travel and lodging expenses for trafficking victims testifying against their traffickers, funding was rarely made available. Nepal did, however, cooperate with destination country governments to repatriate Nepali victims of trafficking, including two victims repatriated from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in February 2006. The government should increase support given to NGOs providing victim assistance and should improve training of diplomats sent to destination countries on methods of identifying and protecting trafficking victims.
Nepal's measures to prevent trafficking did not improve significantly since last year. The government continued to implement anti-trafficking information campaigns started in 2004 and it maintained orientation sessions for all workers traveling overseas, sensitizing them to warning indicators of possible trafficking. Nepal should improve the dissemination of information to potential victims of trafficking on the dangers of trafficking and should expand public information campaigns to prevent trafficking.