Monday Nov 28, 2022
Monday Nov 28, 2022

Human trafficking and the law in Nepal

Execution of national and transnational rule of law is key to addressing human trafficking

2022 Apr 20, 8:03, Kathmandu
Photo : Forced Bondage / Steven Depolo
Even though human trafficking is punishable in every country, the illegal industry of human trafficking is one that finds itself poisoning Nepal deeply.
 A report published by Nepal’s Human Rights Commission estimates that around 35,000 people have been trafficked from Nepal in 2018. Among them, 15,000 women and 5,000 girls were victims of this crime.
Article 29, clause 3 of the present constitution of Nepal states: No person shall be subjected to human trafficking or bonded labor, and such an act shall be punishable by law. Furthermore, in clause 5 of the same article, it is mentioned that: Any act contrary to clause 3 shall be punishable by law and the victim of such an act shall have the right to compensation.
“The proper implementation of laws regarding human trafficking existent in Nepal lacks. Human traffickers take advantage of the failed execution of the rule of law from the authorities' side in Nepal.” says senior legal practitioner Meera Dhungana of Forum for Women, Law and development (FWLD).

Photo : Human trafficking/ flickr
Photo : Human trafficking/ flickr

Forum for Women, Law and development has been involved in legal advocacy for proper implementation of human trafficking laws in the country, providing justice to the human trafficking survivors and creating awareness regarding the heinous crime.

Meera Dhungana has fought an historic case on human trafficking against the Prime Minister and Office of Council of Ministers, Nepal in the year 2011. Petitioners in this case demanded the imprisonment of the person who does not cooperate with the court in its procedures and the protection of witnesses by the government of Nepal.

The verdict of the court was in favor of the petitioners. The court ordered to review the existent human trafficking and transportation act of the Nepalese constitution and to punish those who change statements to assault others. It also demanded that the victim should be compulsorily informed about the prosecution and charge sheet regarding his/her case. It further ordered the concerned police office to provide compensation funds and police security to the witness and complainant respectively.

“The prevailing jurisprudence on human trafficking in Nepal, fails to recognize and prosecute the crime of human trafficking committed in Nepal itself. Many women are brought inside the country from other nations mainly for sexual slavery.” says Meera Dhungana.

Photo : UN Convention/ flickr
Photo : UN Convention/ flickr

Although, national laws should be properly implemented for the mitigation of human trafficking in Nepal, the crime is in fact conducted in an organized way and crosses national borders. The need for standard international law and its enforcement, which holds the people involved in this illegal industry is vital.

The signing of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in Palermo, Italy, in December 2000, was a landmark achievement in addressing the global problem of human trafficking. The Millennium Declaration adopted by the Heads of State meeting at the United Nations in September 2000, states that, “men and women have the right to live their lives and raise their children in dignity, free from hunger and from the fear of violence, oppression or injustice”

 Women and children form the majority of victims of human trafficking in South Asia. South Asian countries are being used as sending, receiving and transit points by human traffickers worldwide. There is a need to establish a strong regional cooperation in order to investigate and detect human trafficking cases in the South-Asian region.

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Preventing and Combating Trafficking of Women and Children for Prostitution exists as a regional law enforcement agreement in South Asia. It condemns human trafficking as a violation of basic human rights. The convention mentions the establishing of a ‘protective home’, a home recognized by a Government of a Member State for the reception, care, treatment and rehabilitation of rescued persons subjected to trafficking.

Human trafficking is majorly committed for the purpose of sexual bondage, forced labor and removal of vital organs from the victim’s body. “Due to domestic violence and financial discrimination women are more susceptible in Nepal to get trafficked than men.” concludes Dhungana.


Law Human trafficking enforcement Victims South Asia nepal
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