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03KATHMANDU365
2003-02-28 11:46:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Kathmandu
Cable title:  

NEPAL: THIRD ANNUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

Tags:   KCRM  PHUM  KWMN  SMIG  KFRD  ASEC  PREF  ELAB  NP 
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						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 07 KATHMANDU 000365 

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR G/TIP, G, INL, DRL, PRM, IWI, SA/RA AND SA/INS
STATE ALSO PLEASE PASS USAID
LONDON FOR POL/REIDEL

E.O 12958: N/A
TAGS: KCRM PHUM KWMN SMIG KFRD ASEC PREF ELAB NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: THIRD ANNUAL ANTI-TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
(TIP) REPORT

REF: SECSTATE 22225



1. (U) Following is Post's submission for the third annual
Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Embassy point of
contact for the report is Political/Economic Officer Sarah
Welborne (tel: 977-1-411-179, fax: 977-1-410-723, e-mail:
welbornese@state.gov).



2. (SBU) OVERVIEW

-- A. Nepal is a country of origin for international
trafficking of women and children. Some trafficking also
occurs within the country. The majority of those trafficked
are poor, undereducated young women, though trafficking in
boys also has been reported. Girls as young as nine years
old have been trafficked.

The magnitude of the problem remains difficult to measure,
as reliable data are not available. The most widely quoted
NGO statistics state that 5,000 to 7,000 girls are
trafficked to India for prostitution each year, but these
figures are extrapolated, based on a number of assumptions,
and do not take into account any victims who are trafficked
for purposes other than prostitution. The GON does not keep
official statistics on the number of victims trafficked.

An ILO-IPEC Rapid Assessment Survey (2002) on Trafficking in
Girls with Special Emphasis on Prostitution estimated that
12,000 girls are trafficked every year. The study targeted
populations including "at-risk" girls, girls who had been
trafficked within Nepal, and those who had returned from
India. Though trafficking is prevalent in many castes and
ethnic groups, the ILO assessment concluded that those most
at risk are members of lower castes and ethnic groups
traditionally resident in Nepal's hilly regions.

Discrimination based on caste and ethnicity, though illegal
in Nepal, is imbedded in economic and social structures.
Gender-based discrimination is widespread, deeply rooted in
tradition and sometimes supported by law. Women and girls
from lower castes or "hill" ethnic groups therefore can be
subject to double or triple marginalization, increasing
their vulnerability to exploitative practices such as
trafficking.

Additionally, an ongoing Maoist insurgency has disrupted
government control in some of the country's remote areas.
Economic insecurity, political instability and physical
danger as a result of the armed conflict have displaced
thousands of women and children from the poorest sectors of
society. Threats of abduction by the Maoists have compelled
large numbers of children to leave their homes to avoid
forced conscription. Death of one or both parents has
lowered an already poor standard of living for many
children, forcing them to work outside the home or fend for
themselves on the street. NGOs report that trafficking is
on the rise in these vulnerable populations.


-- B. The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare
(MWCSW) has identified 26 high-priority districts for anti-
trafficking interventions, most of which are in Nepal's
hilly, undeveloped regions. Most trafficking victims
originate in these high-priority districts. Women and
children who have migrated to Kathmandu and other urban
areas to find work also reportedly have been trafficked.

Nepali trafficking victims are most often taken overland to
India for work in that country's sex industry and for bonded
labor. Some victims are also trafficked to Hong Kong, Saudi
Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

-- C. No significant changes in the direction or extent of
trafficking have been reported in the last year.

-- D. Nepal's Institute for Integrated Development Studies
(IIDS) conducted a study entitled "Status and Dimension of
Trafficking Within Nepal" with UNIFEM support under the
South Asian Regional Initiative for Gender Equity
(SARI/Equity) program in 2002. Supported by The Asia
Foundation, the Center for Legal Research and Resource
Development (CeLLRD) completed a baseline survey in five
districts.

Also in 2002, ILO/IPEC published reports on Trafficking in
Girls with Special Reference to Prostitution, Trafficking
and Sexual Abuse Among Street Children in Kathmandu, Cross
Border Trafficking of Boys and Internal Trafficking Among
Children Engaged in Prostitution.

-- E. Not applicable. Nepal is not a destination country
for trafficking in persons.

-- F. Government officials, police and NGOs suspect that
organized criminal groups and "marriage brokers" are the
main traffickers in Nepal. Though most are Nepali, they
have links with brothels in Mumbai and other cities in
India. The traffickers typically target high-vulnerability
groups like those listed in para A. NGOs have found that
once prevention programs are instituted in a district,
traffickers move on to other locations.

In general, the main factors contributing to trafficking in
women and girls from Nepal are poverty, lack of alternative
employment opportunities in the countryside, illiteracy,
ignorance about the dangers of prostitution, family
disharmony, domestic violence and gender discrimination.
Contributing factors to the smaller phenomenon of
trafficking of boys for exploitative labor include poverty
and lack of alternative employment opportunities, as well as
a traditional pattern of male migration for employment.

NGOs estimate that approximately half of victims are lured
to India with the promise of a good marriage and/or job, but
many others are sold by family members. A small number are
kidnapped. No firm numbers are available.

Nepal and India have an open border. Traffickers typically
move their victims overland on secondary roads or via public
transportation.

-- G. Political will to combat trafficking exists at the
highest levels of government, and the GON is making a good-
faith effort to seriously address the problem. The MWCSW
has instituted a National Task Force Against Trafficking to
coordinate government response, and is working with the ILO,
UNDP and other international organizations to increase GON
capacity to prevent trafficking and prosecute offenders.
Directly and through district-level task forces, the
Ministry coordinates with NGOs to rehabilitate and assist
victims. There are programs in place to train police forces
and the judiciary to deal effectively with trafficking
cases.

The MWCSW has drafted strengthened anti-trafficking
legislation to assist in the prosecution of offenders. The
legislation has not yet passed.

The current Assistant Minister for Women, Children and
Social Welfare, Ms. Anuradha Koirala, is an internationally
recognized anti-trafficking activist and head of a well-
known NGO in the field, Maiti Nepal. One of the highest-
ranking police officers in the country, Dr. Govinda Prasad
Thapa, has been vocal in support and active in development
of national and regional anti-trafficking initiatives.

-- H. There is no documented evidence that government
authorities or individual members of government facilitate
trafficking, condone trafficking or are otherwise complicit
in such activities. However, government authorities such as
immigration officials, police and judges do engage in graft
and corruption, and these practices no doubt play a role in
some trafficking cases. There have been no reported
instances of prosecution or conviction of government
officials on trafficking-related charges.

-- I. One of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal
lacks the resources to address many of the underlying causes
of trafficking. Under-funded government welfare agencies
are generally incapable of delivering effective outreach
programs or assistance to trafficking victims. As a result,
anti-trafficking efforts have been primarily the domain of
NGOs and bilateral donors.

Institutional capacity to address the trafficking problem is
weak. In particular, the police lack both training and
resources, and the courts are overburdened and susceptible
to corruption.

Political instability has also hampered GON anti-trafficking
efforts. Several governments have come and gone in rapid
succession, and since the dissolution of the last parliament
in May 2002, no elections have been held. As a result,
draft legislation to increase penalties for trafficking-
related offenses has yet to be passed, and the "National
Plan of Action" to combat trafficking has yet to be
implemented completely.



3. (SBU) PREVENTION

-- A. The Government of Nepal has acknowledged publicly
that trafficking is a problem. Prime Ministers, political
party leaders, parliamentarians and ministry officials have
stated publicly that trafficking is a national problem.
Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba affirmed during his
tenure that "the government has taken trafficking as a
serious problem," and "a serious crime." Pledging to seek
stronger laws to prosecute traffickers, Deuba also said the
government must address the underlying causes.

-- B. The MWCSW has primary responsibility for the
development and coordination of the GON's anti-trafficking
efforts. In addition, the MWCSW has instituted a National
Task Force Against Trafficking that includes personnel from
the National Planning Commission, the Nepal Police and the
Ministries of Labor and Transportation Management; Home;
Foreign Affairs; Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs;
Education and Sports; and Health. The ILO, UNICEF and two
representative NGOs are also members.

Additionally, the Nepal Police have established local-level
Women and Children Service Centers as part of their
community policing efforts. The Centers operate with a
combined mandate of law enforcement, counseling and public
awareness.

-- C. The MWCSW, NGOs and UNIFEM have all implemented
local, regional and national information campaigns about
trafficking in persons. The GON has prepared radio
programs, audio-visual presentations, booklets, pamphlets
and signboards aimed at preventing trafficking among
vulnerable groups. "Village Vigilance Committees" (VVCs)
have been established as pilot projects in some districts,
training local residents to recognize possible trafficking
cases and rescue potential victims before they can be moved
across the border. Though no statistics are available, the
GON reports that the VVCs have been successful in stopping a
number of attempts to traffic girls to India.
-- D. Under a new GON initiative, announced in January
2003, all workers traveling overseas will be required to
attend an orientation session explaining worker rights,
safety issues and relevant regulations. A labor office will
be established at the airport to reinforce the message. The
12-point program also abolished a five-year-old rule
prohibiting Nepali women from working in Gulf countries.
The ban was imposed in 1998 after reports of hardship and
abuse from returning women workers. Women's activists had
voiced concerns that while the law did not prevent Nepali
women from clandestinely departing from India for work in
the Gulf, it restricted women's access to information about
their destinations and prevented them from attending
orientation classes, putting them at risk of exploitation.

The MWCSW publishes a newsletter addressing issues of
concern to women and children, and operates a program in 47
districts to emphasize to parents the importance of sending
their children to school. Encouraging children to stay in
school is also a large component of the government's
campaign to eliminate child labor, currently being carried
out under the auspices of a USDOL-funded Timebound Project.

Government-initiated income-generation projects have been
introduced in more than 3900 villages, providing micro-
credit loans, administering savings programs and encouraging
banks to support women entrepreneurs in almost all districts
of the country.

--E. The GON is unable to support financially most
prevention programs, but is very receptive to private
efforts. The government makes its personnel readily
available to take part in anti-trafficking training
programs, provides government facilities for outreach
programs and training, and otherwise supports private
initiatives to the best of its ability. The Ministry, with
technical assistance from the Center for Population and
Development Activities (CEDPA) and funding from USAID/W, has
prepared a national Informal Education and Communication
(IEC) strategy. The MWCSW provides additional funding in
priority districts.

-- F. The MWCSW fosters a collaborative relationship with
donors and NGOs in joint pursuit of anti-trafficking goals.
For example, "Beyond Trafficking -- A Joint Initiative in
the Millennium Against Trafficking of Girls and Women (JIT)"
is a collaborative effort of the MWCSW, UN System Task Force
Against Trafficking and other donors. In addition to
cooperative work on the JIT and IEC, the Ministry has also
worked collaboratively with CEDPA and the ILO to establish a
Documentation and Information Center on trafficking and
developed software to manage information. An Office of the
National Rapporteur has been set up with input from UNDP.

-- G. Nepal's open land border with India does not allow
for stringent monitoring. One NGO has had some success at
monitoring the border independently, and UNICEF has provided
training for police and immigration officials to help them
identify potential trafficking victims at border crossings.

-- H. See para B for information about GON anti-trafficking
task force. The Commission for the Investigation of the
Abuse of Authority investigates public corruption.
-- I. At a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(SAARC) Summit held in January, 2002, Nepal, together with
India and other South Asian countries, signed the SAARC
Convention on Preventing and Combating the Trafficking in
Women and Children for Prostitution. Together with other
SAARC countries, Nepal has agreed to establish SAARCPOL, a
regional body to fight trafficking and other transnational
crimes. Nepal and India have agreed to form a Joint Cross
Border Committee Against Trafficking.

Nepal is a party to the Convention on Elimination of All
Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEADAW), the UN
Convention on the Rights of the Child, the ILO Minimum Age
Convention, the ILO Convention on the Prohibition and
Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of
Child Labor, the ILO Forced Labor Convention and the
Convention on the Abolition of Slavery.

-- J. The GON's National Plan of Action to combat
trafficking was developed in consultation with the ILO, NGOs
and relevant government agencies. It has not yet been fully
implemented.

-- K. The MWCSW's National Task Force Against Trafficking
is responsible for developing anti-trafficking programs
within the GON.



4. (SBU) INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF TRAFFICKERS

-- A. No new anti-trafficking laws have been enacted,
though draft legislation exists and is expected to be
brought before a new session of Parliament, following as-yet
unannounced national elections.

The Human Trafficking Control Act of 1986 is the current
anti-trafficking legislation. It prohibits:
- Selling of a human being for any purpose;
- Taking any person to a foreign territory with an
intention of selling that person to a third party;
- Involving any woman in prostitution by enticement,
allurement, fraud, threat, coercion or any other means;
- Abetting, assisting, conspiring or attempting to carry
out any of the above acts.

The 1986 Act is flawed in several ways. It does not
criminalize the separation of a minor from his or her legal
guardian with the intent of trafficking the minor, nor does
it criminalize the receipt of a trafficked person. Under
the terms of the Act, no crime occurs until the victim and
perpetrator are outside Nepali jurisdiction. The Act makes
no provision for the compensation or protection of
trafficking victims. Victims are often reluctant to
testify, because trials are held in open court and there is
no legal protection for witnesses. Local police cannot
investigate trafficking complaints without permission from
prosecutors, and the resultant delay gives perpetrators time
to flee.

-- B. The 1986 Act provides for jail terms of up to 20
years for traffickers, but penalties are often much less.
Approximately 38% of traffickers receive minimum sentences
when convicted.

-- C. Penalties for rape vary with the age of the victim.
If the victim is under 16, jail sentences of up to ten years
are possible. For victims 16 and over, sentences can be up
to five years. In either case, the court may order a
convicted rapist to give half of his property to the victim.
NGOs state that victims are not detained, jailed or
deported. If the victim is a foreigner, he or she will be
handed over to the concerned Embassy.

-- D. During FY 2002, 92 cases of trafficking were reported
to the police. 2002 prosecution statistics are not yet
available. (Post will provide them septel prior to March
publication of TIP report.)

-- E. Government officials, police and NGOs suspect that
organized criminal groups and "marriage brokers" are the
primary perpetrators of trafficking in Nepal. They note
that parents and other relatives of trafficking victims are
often complicit as well.

-- F. By its own admission, the government lacks the
trained manpower necessary to investigate effectively cases
of trafficking. While no legal restrictions prevent the
police from conducting covert operations or electronic
surveillance, poor training, rudimentary equipment and
procedural inertia prevent the techniques from being
utilized.

-- G. As part of an anti-trafficking initiative begun in
1996, the Nepal Police have occasionally trained a limited
number of personnel in the investigation of trafficking.
However, most training programs of this type are developed
and administered by NGOs. The GON supports programs to the
best of its ability by providing facilities and making its
personnel available to attend.

-- H. In October, 2000, Nepal's Home Ministry, the UN
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and NGOs hosted a
regional workshop for senior police officers to enhance
cross-border anti-trafficking collaboration. Several follow-
up meetings involving Nepal and India have taken place.

-- I. Nepal and India, are currently discussing their
bilateral extradition treaty, signed in 1955. The treaty is
being updated to address transnational crimes more
effectively. Nepali law does not prohibit the government
from extraditing its own nationals, but the GON has not had
occasion to do so in connection with trafficking.

-- J. Post has no evidence that, as a matter of policy, GON
authorities facilitate, condone or are otherwise complicit
in human trafficking. However, local anti-trafficking NGOs
report that individual local officials and border police
sometimes accept bribes in exchange for allowing the
traffickers and their victims to cross Nepal's border with
India. The Commission for the Investigation of the Abuse of
Authority (CIAA) has the power to investigate incidences of
corruption by public officials.

-- K. No GON officials have been prosecuted for involvement
in trafficking or trafficking-related corruption.

-- L. Nepal ratified ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labor on
January 3, 2002, and ratified ILO Convention 182 on
September 13, 2001. Nepal has not yet ratified ILO
Convention 105.

Nepal has not ratified the Sale of Children Protocol, which
supplements the Rights of the Child Convention; or the
Protocol to Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons,
Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN
Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.



5. (SBU) PROTECTION AND ASSISTANCE TO VICTIMS

-- A. Questions regarding residency status and relief from
deportation do not appear to apply to Nepal, as Nepal is not
a destination country for international trafficking in
persons. For victims of internal trafficking, victim care
facilities are limited, and are run primarily by NGOs.

-- B. The GON provides limited funding to local NGOs to
provide assistance to victims of trafficking with
rehabilitation, medical care and legal services. The GON
does not fund foreign NGOs. Bilateral and multilateral
donors, working with the GON through the MWCSW, do fund
local and foreign NGOs to provide victim assistance.

-- C. The government of Nepal does protect the rights of
victims. Trafficking victims are not detained, jailed, or
deported, nor are they, as trafficking victims, prosecuted
for violations of other laws.

-- D. While the GON has not actively encouraged trafficking
victims to file civil suits or seek legal action against
traffickers, once the victim does file a civil suit or make
a criminal complaint, the GON will prosecute the case at no
cost to the victim. The Nepal Police have initiated a
"Women's Cell," aimed at assisting victims of trafficking
and domestic violence.

-- E. There is no provision for the government to provide
protection to victims or witnesses.

-- F. As part of the new foreign employment initiative
announced in January 2003 (see Prevention, para D), the GON
intends to open an Embassy in Kuala Lumpur and to appoint
labor attaches to Malaysia and UAE, both of which have large
concentrations of Nepali workers. The government has also
initiated a request for Saudi Arabia and Malaysia to open
consular sections in Kathmandu. A welfare fund will be
established to assist workers injured on overseas jobs.

Government representatives at Consulates in India, the
destination country for most of Nepal's trafficking victims,
do not receive special training in protection. However,
they assist with the repatriation of victims to Nepal if
cases are brought to their attention.

-- G. In May 1999, the MWCSW opened the Women's Skill
Development Center, a rehabilitation and skills training
center for women returned from being trafficked and for
women at risk of being trafficked. Most "safe houses" and
rehabilitation centers are run by NGOs.

-- H. There are more then 40 national-level NGOs working on
the issues of trafficking. With the GON's endorsement, many
NGOs conduct public information and outreach campaigns in
rural areas. They also provide prevention education, micro-
finance, rehabilitation, advocacy and legal assistance. Two
representative NGOs are members of the MWCSW's National Task
Force, and the GON works closely with NGOs to provide
services to victims and assist in the implementation of the
National Plan of Action.



6. (U) OMB Reporting Requirements: One FS-03 officer spent
14 hours drafting and clearing this year's TIP report. One
FS-01 officer spent one hour, one FS-02 officer spent 15
minutes, and DCM spent 30 minutes clearing the report. One
FSN-11 USAID employee spent five hours researching
information.

MALINOWSKI