Trafficking a booming biz in Kathmandu


A busy street in Kathmandu, which is now emerging as a  point for trafficking of minor girls. DH Photo/ S Lalitha

The gullibility of parents who trust middlemen to find a job for their children has resulted in many young girls, particularly minors, ending up as victims of the flesh trade continuing unabated here.  

Girls from Sindhupalchok, Ramechhap, Nuwakot, Rasuwa and Dhadhing districts have been lured to the capital with the offer of a decent job, food and accommodation, says Superintendent of Police (SP), Kathmandu, Nawe Raj Silwal.

“These unscrupulous men narrate many success stories to the parents to convince them to part with their girls. They are finally fixed up as waitresses or assistants in cabin restaurants or small lodges and pushed into the flesh trade here,” he said.
Thamel, Gongabu and Bhaktapur areas in Kathmandu abound in such hotels, where trafficking of minors goes on.

“We are doing our best to curb it through surprise raids,” the SP said. Spreading awareness among the rural folk about the inherent dangers in trusting strangers can help in eradicating it,  he added. 

Anuradha Koirala, Chairperson of ‘Maiti’, a Kathmandu-based NGO that deals with the problem of women and child trafficking, said the issue of Kathmandu emerging a nodal point for exploiting young girls from other districts is a recent phenomenon.
This is a safe bet for many middlemen largely because of the risks inherent in smuggling the girls to India and the costs involved too. 

The price at which a girl is sold away ranges between Rs 60,000 and Rs 80,000 in Nepal but India fetches them over Rs 1 lakh.

The phenomenon of smuggling girls to India is a 70-year-old business and those involved in the racket have now managed to extend their reach to other smaller cities, Koirala said.

 “The myth prevalent among Indian men that having sex with a minor girl would cure them of all  diseases was one of the main reasons why young girls are much in need there,” she added.

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