KANTIPUR REPORT                    

KATHMANDU, JUN 16 - Nepali women are subjected to forced prostitution in Nepal, India and the Middle East, as well as forced labour in other Asian countires, including Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea, a US report has warned.

The US government's 10th Annual Trafficking in Persons report, released in Washington by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday, said Nepali women are increasingly being forced to work in the newest republic’s growing domestic pornographic industry.

The US government's 10th Annual Trafficking in Persons report, released in Washington by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday, said non-government organisations in Nepal continued to report an increase in both transnational and domestic trafficking, although a lack of reliable statistics made the problem difficult to quantify.

The report said Nepali women and girls continue to be subjected to forced labour in Nepal and India in the form of domestic servants, beggars, factory workers, and circus workers, Nepali women are also forced to work in Nepal's growing pornography industry.

'Many dance bars, 'cabin restaurants', and massage parlours in Kathmandu that facilitate sex trafficking are reportedly co-owned by senior police and army officials,' the report said.

Several NGOs have reported an increase in the number of teenage boys in Kathmandu engaged in prostitution; many of these boys are suspected to be trafficking victims.

Besides being exploited as forced domestic servants, Nepali boys are also abused sexually.

Traffickers are using ties to politicians, businessmen, state officials, police, customs officials, and border police to facilitate trafficking.

"Trafficking-related complicity by government officials remained a serious problem in Nepal, with traffickers using ties to politicians, business persons, state officials, police, customs officials, and border police to facilitate trafficking. Despite these serious concerns, there were no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking," stated the report.

The large number of Nepali passports containing false information which Indian officials have encountered in trafficking cases may be the result of Nepali officials working with traffickers to provide them with these documents, it said.

However, despite these serious concerns, there were no investigations, prosecutions, or convictions of government officials complicit in trafficking during the reporting period.

'There is anecdotal evidence that Nepal's role as a destination for foreign child sex tourists is growing, possibly as efforts to confront this problem in traditional Southeast Asian destinations have become more effective,' the report said.

The report has recommended the Nepal government to increase law enforcement efforts against all types of trafficking and against government officials who are complicit in trafficking and improve protection services and put in place more effective tracking mechanisms for both sex and labour trafficking case.

 Source: The Kathmandu Post [2010-06-16]