National Consultation on Policy Review/Analysis on Correlation of Labour Migration and Human Trafficking

PNCC collaborated with NNSM and Solidarity Center to organize “National Consultation on Policy Review/Analysis on Correlation of Labour Migration and Human Trafficking” at Park Village Resort, Budhanilkantha from Jan 17-18, 2020.

More than 36 participants were present during the program representing various organizations.

Representatives from DoFE, GEFONT, People Forum, AMKAS Nepal, SARTUC, LAPSOJ, NTUC, Shakti Samuha, AATWIN, MoFA, Pourakhi Nepal, WOREC Nepal, NHRC, CESLAM and Lawmakers were present.

Likewise, journalists representing different media houses were also present. They also gave their presentations during the two-day program.

The program formally started with a brief introduction by the Director of PNCC Mr. Som Prasad Lamichhane.

Likewise, Chairperson of PNCC, Mr. Kul Prasad Karki stressed about the risk faced by the labour migrant workers.

All the participants gave their short introduction.

The first day of the program focused on the nexus between Human-Trafficking and Foreign Employment.

Janak Raj Sapkota, Kantipur Journalist presented on inter-relationship of Human- Trafficking and Foreign Employment.

In his report, he highlighted that very less number of cases related with human trafficking are registered.

Fiscal year No. of human trafficking case registered
2068/69118
2069/70144
2070/71185
2071/72181
2072/73212
2073/74227
2074/75305
                                                       Source: Nepal Police

Countries like Haiti and Guatemala are becoming transit points for desperate labour migrants of Nepal. Various reports show that there is creation of black market as people are going abroad to US and Europe.

Deportation cases of Aftab Aalam and Ram Budha were shared during the presentation.

Presentation further highlighted that people from Rukum were mostly influenced by the craze and attraction of forced labour migration as Rukum was adversely hit by the conflict that took place during 1996-2006.

Sapkota also shared about the story behind Sudarshan Gautam (who has also played in the role of actor with Rekha Thapa in the movie Himmatwali) has been found guilty of taking people luring them of attractive career in Europe and US.

Some of the discussed news articles during the presentation were:

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The cases of ‘victims becoming agents’ are also rising. As they are being cheated by the people/agents they learn various methods and steps from where they can cheat other innocent migrants.

Sapkota’s presentation also showed that in the time frame of 20 months (2075 Baisakh-2076 Mangshir), 92 deportation of Nepalese were recorded in US.

Joint Secretary of MoFA, Harishchandra Ghimire shared that Nepalese people who dream of moving to US are requested by their agents not to speak in front of the embassy staffs as they could be identified as Nepali citizens. When they are identified as Nepali citizens they are forcefully sent back to their own country issuing a travel document (TD).

Rameshwar Nepal from EQUIDEM Research shared that government response is not effective for which people do not want to file a case.

In the meantime, Narahari Regmi, DSP from Anti Human Trafficking Bureau presented a short presentation on Human Trafficking. His presentation included short introduction/ definition of Human Trafficking, types of human trafficking and other emerging trends of human trafficking.

DSP Regmi also stressed upon the trafficking/ smuggling route from Nepal to US as there is a craze of Nepalis to travel US.

DSP Regmi also highlighted about the recent
agreement with Department of Foreign Employment
to fight against foreign employment-related fraudulent activities.
He shared various cases of human trafficking in which girls under age are also trafficked and intoxicated and are forced for the prostitution.
Benu Maya Gurung, chairperson of AATWIN said that the two terms ‘Human trafficking’ and ‘Human smuggling’ are two different terms.

Likewise, Hari Bahadur Gyawali, Director at DoFE shared that the trend of relatives becoming agents is increasing. Also, people are ready to pay any amount to the agents so that they can go to European, US, Malaysia and GCCs.

In the meantime, DSP Regmi added that the reason for not filing the case against the agents could be that the victims are still thinking that those agents would pay them back.

“Had there been effective arrangement for the compensation for the cases related with human trafficking, people would go for case registration” he further added.

However, people have to go for filing a fraud case even in the cases of human trafficking.

Lawmaker Prakash Rasaili asked DSP for necessary changes to be included so that the lawmakers could contribute while reforming the law.

Likewise in the second day, the program comprised of discussion and presentations.

Advocate Anurag Devkota highlighted the type of cases that are filed under the human trafficking.

Many death cases are recorded even if the people who went to foreign lands after having proper medical check-up. They have suggested having a postmortem, autopsy after bringing their body to Nepal.

Pre-departure orientation and the death rate are not reciprocating. This shows that people are not well aware about the possible risks they would face after reaching to the destination.

People are oriented regarding reproductive health, Aids but they are not aware about the consequences they could get into after working continuously in the scorching sun.

Devkota added that foreign employment law itself is a complicated issue and it is made only after certain incident takes place.

Also, it is noted that people are misinformed during pre-departure orientation.

Devkota gave example of Philippine law sharing the definition of human trafficking. Philippine law is so clear that there it is not necessary to show the nexus between human trafficking and smuggling. The definitions of labour migration and human trafficking in the Nepali legal system do not take account of the interdependence of these two phenomena.

The findings of the research on Labour Migration and Human Trafficking are as follows:

-No proper mechanism for data collection

-Contemporary challenges of labour trafficking where several irregular channels are being used by the traffickers to transport the workers to western countries

-Foreign Employment Act (FEA) and its Regulation is institution-focused and prescribes liabilities primarily for recruitment agencies. While, the Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Act (HTTCA) is more concerned with individual criminal liability, prescribing punishment for individual traffickers.

  • Difficulty in separating human trafficking and labour migration cases

-Nepal lacks a procedure for trafficking in migrant labour-related issues in trafficking related international instruments. Hence, national legal reform is called for, in terms of both national and international laws.

  • Nepal’s law governing labour migration is flawed in many ways and offenders take advantage of its weak implementation and lax monitoring.
  • Common trend in Nepal that manpower companies are generally charged with foreign employment fraud, whereas individual agents are generally charged under the Human Trafficking Act.

During the program, Tek Narayan Kunwar, a high court judge stressed upon the confusing definition of human trafficking.

Kunwar said that Nepal is lacking in the compensation part. Kunwar also shared about the cases of Pedophile and rape where the compensation to the victim was too low. He gave example of a Canadian national involved in Pedophile and a father raping his daughter, Lalitpur.

Rameshwar Nepal raised a query that it is controversial to have migration related cases to be included in the human trafficking.

SARTUC’s General Secretary Laxman Bahadur Basnet stressed about the labour grievances and voting right to migrant workers.

Lawmaker Prakash Rasaili also raised the issue of Nepali bureaucracy complexity during case solving. He suggested having one door system so that victims can easily seek the compensation.

Conclusion/Recommendations:

-UN Trafficking Protocol should be ratified as Nepal stands as a tier 2 country by the 2018 Trafficking in Persons Report.

-clear set up of institution to deal human trafficking and labour migration related issues

-Nepali courts need to be more responsive and adopt good court practices

  • Proper education and awareness about labour migration and human trafficking

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