19th Jan 2018

Anti Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a traditional and organized crime prevalent in Nepal from long ago. Despite many anti trafficking initiatives by the government of Nepal, I/NGOs and donor agencies Nepal is still experiencing an increasing trend of people being trafficked to cross boarder countries especially to India and Gulf countries for forced prostitution and labor exploitation. Human trafficking has been in practice for a very long time. US Department of State has categorized Nepal as Tier -2 state on human trafficking for the last several years. The majority of trafficking victims are women and girls, who are especially vulnerable due to limited economic opportunities, illiteracy or low education, and low socioeconomic and cultural status. Victims come from all areas of Nepal, but most targeted are those in traditionally disadvantaged, marginalized groups. However, victimization is spreading to advantaged groups and so called upper caste section as well. Most victims are lured with promises of better jobs in countries such as India, Dubai, or Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, South Korea and other tactics include false marriages, force, and approaching indebted families to sell their daughters to pay their debts. The most vulnerable are women and girls who are illiterate or uneducated, involved in marginalized livelihoods, deserted by their husbands or families, victims of abuse and violence, and those from disadvantaged communities and extremely poor families.Such victims of trafficking sometimes get away from their captivity through escape, rescue by police raids, or release by their captors when deemed too old to be profitable. Such victims lose their self respect in their family and society after their return and most of them are rejected by their family and in many instances they are looked down upon and ill treated by the family members and society.

Trafficking in persons in Nepal can be categorized into i) internal trafficking, ii) cross border trafficking (India) and iii) cross-border trafficking (excluding India) in terms of destination of  trafficking. All of these types of trafficking in persons have three forms of trafficking i.e. trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation, labor exploitation and trafficking for entertainment and other purposes. Each type and form of trafficking has age and gender dimension. Children are victims of trafficking both internally as well as cross-border to India for sexual and labor exploitation and other purposes. Women are victims of trafficking in all three types of trafficking and for all purposes of trafficking especially for sexual exploitation. Trafficking takes place across Nepal and especially Dalit, Janjati and marginalized groups are the most vulnerable groups; trafficking of men especially in foreign employment is also common; most vulnerable age group for trafficking is the adolescent girls including young women who desired to go for foreign employment; traffickers use different routes including unofficial border points; traffickers are relatives, neighbors to whom the survivors believe; trafficking takes place for multiple purposes; the root causes of trafficking are poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, gender discrimination and social exclusion including high aspiration of Nepali young people.

The dynamics of trafficking have been changing in Nepal. Trafficking encompasses now human trafficking not just of women and children. India once regarded as the destination country of girls and women trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation has now become both as the destination country as well as a transit route for trafficking of Nepalese women and men to the Gulf States and South-East Asia. At the same time, there has been rapidly increasing internal trafficking of girls and women in entertainment industry like cabin bars, dance and Dohori restaurants and massage parlors mainly located in urban and semi-urban areas in Nepal. Some of the challenges to combat trafficking evolved are: protection of the rights of adult female workers in the entertainment businesses; regulating Inter-country adoption of children; educating parents on the child rights to prohibit them sending children perform in circuses and other exploitative jobs; encouraging NGOs and INGOs in launching livelihood programs as well awareness related programs; establishing data system to monitor the situation of trafficking at the national level and conducting periodic surveys or Rapid Assessment to understand the trafficking situation. Another serious issue that has scaled up within a short time is trafficking of organ especially kidney trafficking in some parts of the capital. Middle men who benefit more from such crime are more active in rural parts due to people’s lack of awareness on health issues and want for money.

To combat against trafficking, PPR Nepal has been working since 2008 in many districts across the country, presently it is working in three districts- Kathmandu, Makawanpur and Kavrepalanchowk and planning to expand some other districts considering the problems in those areas and repeated request from stakeholders to intervene.

PPR Nepal implements anti human trafficking activities based on three pronged approach: Prevention, Protection and Prosecution. Lawyers, judges, police and public prosecutors are trained on TIP Act and psychosocial needs of the victims and witnesses resulting to the responsibilities being carried out through a systematic victim-centered approach. It provides legal aid and counseling services to the victims of trafficking in the project districts and also aware community people on TIP Act with an aim of preventing human trafficking and establishing a more supportive environment in which trafficking victims can reintegrate. Various protection and prosecution activities are being carried out to achieve the goal of the project. Major activities PPR Nepal conducts for combating human trafficking are:

Community Orientation and follow-up of Orientation:
To aware community people in the project implemented districts, one day community level orientations are organized in each three districts. Nepalese legal provisions on anti Human Trafficking laws especially on Human Trafficking Act 2007 and Regulation 2008, and Provisions on International Instruments relating to Human Trafficking are covered in the orientation. The orientation help to create an environment favorable to rehabilitate and reintegrate trafficking victims in the communities and members of the VDC are made aware on legal provisions of trafficking. The community orientations are conducted at the VDC level (10 VDC each year in each district). Similarly, follow-up impact assessment that helps to identify effectiveness of the awareness programs conducted in previous year(s) are also conducted in the program implemented districts. The assessment also help to assess the situation of trafficking cases and the participants’ involvement in anti trafficking activities and if they shared their knowledge to others. In addition, to measure the knowledge on different aspects of TIP covered in the community orientation, the follow up of the orientation are conducted. More than 5500 community people have already been made aware through community orientation programs.

Legal Service: Victims and witnesses of human trafficking are provided legal services by the legal professionals of PPR Nepal. The victims are provided legal counseling as well as legal aid to file FIR to the Police and forward the case in the courts to take legal action against the perpetrators. Until now PPR Nepal has provided legal aid to 81 victims since 2007 14 cases are decided in favor of the victims.

Legal Awareness and Mobile Legal, Psychosocial and Health Clinic: Kidney trafficking is one of the unique form of human trafficking practiced especially in Kavre district. Being one of the prone districts for kidney trafficking mobile legal, health and psychosocial clinic was organized to provide services to the victims of human and kidney trafficking and needy people in Hokse VDC of Kavre. As an organizer of the two day program PPR Nepal supported the district health office of Kavre with medicines. In the mobile health clinic a total of 236 locals received services. Poster and pamphlet with message on the legal provision related to human and organ (kidney) trafficking were distributed.

Research on Kidney Trafficking: Trafficking of humans to some prominent cities of India is prevalent, even if in a small magnitude for the purpose of illegal transplant of kidney. It is being reported that selling and buying of kidney has become a culture and the number is far more than what has been disclosed. Cases are reported of some brokers and perpetrators who are working for unknown kidney receivers for monetary benefits. The figures were arbitrary, reported by different media and sources. Figures of victims/survivors of kidney trafficking in some informal discussion were pronounced as 500 to 1000. But estimation after research indicated this number somewhere between 120 and 160.

Taking into account the gravity of kidney trafficking in Kavrepalanchowk, district popular for kidney trafficking, a research is carried out to identify and analyze the reasons of kidney trafficking; process and results/effects of kidney trafficking; legal measures that can be taken in the past incidents and future incidents of kidney trafficking and prescribe recommendations for the prevention of kidney trafficking.

The research was designed in such a way that pre-survey interactions were held in the same district to identify dimensions of the problem. People were found cheated by promises prior to kidney extraction. Government officials in legal and para-legal sectors were not accepting prevalence of trafficking on the basis of formally filed cases. Existing legal frame of the country prohibited selling of organs and both buyers and sellers were supposed to be under investigation, hence cheated kidney donors hesitate to knock the door for legal remedies. Some of the victim/survivor turned donors had left their own home village. The research has helped to establish trafficking for kidney as one of the emerging serious social problems. This is the beginning of investigation, it may trigger researches for other dimensions of the problem.

Preparation and distribution of awareness raising materials on human trafficking: A booklet containing legal provisions on human trafficking in Nepal in a simple Nepali language with sketches targeting common people is published. Poster showing all the forms of human trafficking in Nepal and punishment perpetrators are entitled to if involved in the case of human trafficking is also published. Likewise a leaflet on kidney trafficking is also published. More that thousand copies of these materials are distributed to the target groups.

Coordination among stakeholders: PPR Nepal work in coordination with many stakeholders including government agencies, NGOs, donors and civil society organizations working in the field of human trafficking in Nepal and regional level.

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