103 trafficking victims rescued from Manipur

February 04, 2019

Ujjwal Satyal, The Himalayan Times, February 04, 2019 

The Manipur Police in coordination with Manipur Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Maiti Nepal and various India-based NGOs have rescued 103 Nepali women, including 10 to 12 minors, from various cities of Manipur bordering Myanmar.

Bishwo Khadka, chairperson of Maiti Nepal, confirmed that 103 Nepali women, who were supposedly kept at various hideouts to be trafficked to Gulf countries, were rescued by the Manipur Police during the two-day operation.

According to Montu Ahanthem, member of MCPCR, most of the women and children who were rescued yesterday and a day before did not hold any valid travel documents. This morning, police arrested an additional 30 women from Imphal Airport in Manipur on suspicion that they too were being trafficked to the Gulf. Ahanthem, however, said they were investigating the matter.

Ahanthem said that a total of 308 Nepali women had crossed the Indian border through Moreh to Myanmar in the past month. “We have come to know that these women crossed the border with the aim of flying to Dubai and from there to various other Gulf countries. But we are investigating why such large a number of people travelled through this route,” he added.

Meanwhile all the women rescued have been kept at ‘Ujjwala Home’, a shelter home run by the Ministry of Women and Children of Manipur, according to Ahanthem.

The Manipur Police has also filed an FIR against three Nepali men on the charge of ‘criminal conspiracy and importation of girl from foreign country’ under Trafficking of Person and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act. The FIR has listed the names of AshaKaji Lama Tamang, 42, of Jugal, Sindhupalchowk; Rajiv Sharma of Sunauli; and Madan Kumar Kharel, 52, of Prithivinagar, Jhapa. These men were arrested during the rescue of the trafficked women.

The rescue operation comes after the rescue of six women in a raid on a private residence at Rajiv Nagar, Delhi, by the Delhi Commission for Women and Maiti Nepal on January 30. The DCW along with representatives of Maiti Nepal had rescued the women.

The private residence was raided after an unknown person sent an email to Maiti Nepal chair Khadka informing him about the Nepali women kept in the private house. The person had claimed that a large number Nepali women were being ‘sold like cattle in Gulf countries’. He also claimed that there was a similar kind of facility in Dang in which women were kept before being trafficked.

Khadka, told THT that the rescued women had informed about the large number of women being trafficked through the north-eastern state of Manipur.

The government, a few years ago, had made it mandatory for every Nepali citizens flying abroad from India to gain a ‘No Objection Certificate’ from the Delhi-based Nepali embassy. Khadka said the traffickers might have opted for the land route as it has become difficult for traffickers to transport women through the air route. He also said the trafficking agents earned up to $500 for each woman after dropping them in Dubai.

The DCW in July last year had rescued 71 such women, who were kept at various hotels in Delhi to be transported to Gulf countries. Later on October 11, eight more women were rescued from Delhi.