21 Nepali women smuggled return home after nine months Group had ended in Manipur despite falling into the pit of smugglers preparing to send them to the Gulf.

13th July 2020 After nine months of languishing in the Indian state of Manipur, the Nepal Embassy in India has finally rescued a group of 21 Nepali women who were en route to Persian Gulf countries on foreign employment.

As the Nepal embassy could not take immediate initiation for their rescue and repatriation the group of Nepali women, who had fallen into the trap of human traffickers while trying to reach the Gulf via Myanmar, were left stranded in Manipur, where they had been living in a local shelter.

Following the Post report depicting the negligence on the part of the Nepali mission for their timely rescue, the embassy finally started the rescue operation by sending Prakash Adhikari, counselor and SSP for Nepali Embassy in New Delhi, to Imphal, Manipur.

After two weeks of administrative procedures, the Nepali women were finally rescued. According to Hari Odari, spokesperson for Nepal Embassy in Delhi, the rescued group has been sent from Manipur to Nepal by a bus on Sunday.

“The bus will take them to Kakadbhitta, the Nepal-India border,” said Odari. “The group will be handed over to local authorities and representatives of the Ministry of Women, Children & Social Welfare.” After a long wait for returning home, the stranded women had started to approach the Delhi embassy for help.

Initially, the embassy had shown concern and contacted the Manipur authorities. However, the embassy later stopped taking any initiatives. The Nepal embassy had been saying that the process could not be completed because of the Covid-19 lockdown in India.

However, Manipur state government officials told the Post that the rescue was delayed due to the embassy’s negligence. A Manipur government official said the delay in sending Nepali women home was because they awaited a concrete response from the Nepali government.

According to the officer, a letter was sent to the embassy mentioning that they would make all the arrangements for taking the women up to the Nepal-India border if only a Nepali official would take their responsibility.
Human traffickers had taken the women to the northeastern state of Manipur by promising them lucrative jobs in Oman, Kuwait and Iraq, among other countries in the Persian Gulf region.

These women were taken to the Indian capital of New Delhi by bus and then by flights to Dimapur of Nagaland state from where they had travelled to Imphal in a bus. According to the rescued women, the traffickers had planned to send them to Myanmar via Moreh—on the India-Myanmar border, which has emerged as a popular route for human trafficking of Nepalis to Southeast Asian and Gulf countries.

After the Nepal government made No Objection Letter (NOC) mandatory for going to third countries via India, human traffickers have been resorting to various measures, including producing fake NOCs, using land-routes and small cities of India, to smuggle people to other countries.

Last year, in a massive rescue mission that had gone for days, the Manipur authorities had succeeded in rescuing 179 Nepali nationals from different parts of the state before they could be smuggled into Myanmar.

The incident had once again exposed that human traffickers were using the Myanmar route to trafficking Nepali citizens.

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