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Checking human trafficking

Checking human trafficking

As per the latest news, at least 39 Nepali girls were rescued from a hotel in Paharganj by a joint team of the Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) and the Delhi Police on Wednesday. These women were about to be sent to Gulf countries illegally. This is the third such operation in the last one week in which large batches of Nepali girls were rescued from the clutches of human traffickers in Delhi. On July 25, 16 Nepali women were rescued from a dingy room in Munirika while another batch of 18 women, 16 of them Nepalese, was rescued from Maidangarhi in a joint operation by Varanasi and Delhi police. In all these rescue operations, DCW has played a key role by providing the information to the police about these women being illegally confined by their handlers and being on the scene while the rescue operations were conducted. These incidents of Nepali women illegally sent to Gulf countries, where they are most likely to be forced into prostitution or forced labour, has once again highlighted that Delhi is fast emerging as the hub of human trafficking and the victims are mostly the uneducated poor women from Nepal and some parts of India. These activities are going on for a long time and a large number of Nepali, as well as Indian women, have been trafficked abroad but the Delhi Police has not been able to unearth these rackets. It is in this light that the role of DCW is praiseworthy that it has obtained the information about these illegal activities before the Delhi Police and initiated action leading to the rescue of the women as well as the arrest of the accused.

Foreign employment is extremely popular in Nepal, where local employment opportunities are very limited. A large number of people who were earlier dependent on agriculture have been selling their land to pursue a dream of employment abroad by paying hefty sums of money to manpower agencies in Nepal. After the 2015 earthquake, which rendered a great number of people homeless, the rush for foreign employment got a fresh push. As most of these job-seekers are unskilled or semi-skilled workers, they are placed in low-level menial jobs. A large part of this workforce is women, who mostly work as domestic help or caregivers. Many of these men and women with poor educational background do not understand the complexities of foreign employment or the legal implications of their work permit and employment conditions. As the experience shows, they are most vulnerable to exploitation by the manpower agencies and employers. The working condition of the host countries is also highly inhospitable, leading to high rate of death of migrant workers. In short, the poor and innocent people of Nepal have been paying a very high degree of social cost. First, they are separated from their society and family to work in a highly demanding work environment abroad where they are paid a pittance. Second, they use up whatever savings or resources they have to find the job and go abroad. After that, they are left with little option but to keep the job no matter how harsh or exploitative it is. In most cases, they leave behind their children and family who have to live with an important member of their family away for the most part of the time.

As the latest round of Nepali women rescued in Delhi reveal, there is a large number of Nepali women seeking employment abroad. And, many of them land in the wrong hands who do not hesitate to exploit them or force them into a job market where more exploitation is awaiting. They are forced to live in abominable conditions, starved and sexually exploited. This is an extremely sad deal for a country which treats its women with great respect, giving them an equal say in every walk of life. Nepal is not only beautiful and its people extremely friendly, but also highly resourceful with the potential for faster economic growth. But somehow, it has not been able to use its resources to create jobs for its people within the country. While thousands of international NGOs are working in the country characterised by its natural beauty and social harmony, investments in sectors that can create large-scale job opportunities are missing. The business environment is dominated by trade and commerce rather than industry and exports. The promising tourism sector that provides maximum employment to the local people has been badly hit by the 2015 earthquake. The rising number of Nepali women being rescued from the custody of human traffickers in Delhi is a clear sign that in the hinterlands of the country, things are far from satisfactory. It's good that DCW has been pro-actively following the exodus of Nepali women through India and coming to their rescue when they are trapped in difficult situations.

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