Traffickers target Nepali children after earthquake

Traffickers target Nepali children after earthquake
An armed police personnel looking for survivors stands in front of a collapsed house after an earthquake.

The families lost their livelihoods in last month's earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 8,600 people.

The children of these families have now been targeted by human-trafficking networks.

And 26 of such children were rescued by Indian authorities and sent to rehabilitation centres, The Guardian reported.

The children's parents, who are from poor villages in northern India, had been migrant labourers in Nepal and were laid off after the earthquake.

As they crossed into India at the Raxaul border post, they were convinced to allow their children, between the ages of eight and 14, to travel with the traffickers, who promised to give them well-paid jobs in comfortable conditions.

But the children were being taken to a bag-manufacturing factory in Mumbai, Mr Sanjeev Kumar, senior labour official in Bihar's East Champaran district, said.

CAUGHT

Four traffickers were detained by the police. Two Nepali children were also intercepted.

Last week, 28 child labourers, including eight from Nepal, were rescued from a garment factory in the north-western city of Ludhiana, in the northern Indian state of Punjab, by a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

The children were paid around 150 rupees (S$3) a week to stitch T-shirts. The Nepali children had gone to India about two weeks before the earthquake, local media said.

The India-Nepal border is 1,751km long and only lightly patrolled.

Mr Y. K. Gautam, the state coordinator of Action Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children, an Indian NGO in the state of Bihar, described the situation as serious.

He told The Guardian: "The Indo-Nepal border at Raxaul has become a vulnerable point... as just everyone wants to flee Nepal right now.

"This has increased the risks of the... quake victims falling into the nets of human trafficking.


This article was first published on May 27, 2015.
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