Gulf traffickers network in Nepal exposes slack Mumbai vigilance

November 28th, 2008 - 3:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Nov 28 (IANS) A newly exposed Gulf trafficking network in Nepal Friday also revealed chinks in the security armour in Mumbai, where terrorists launched an audacious attack two days ago.Since last year, at least 250 women from one disadvantaged community in south Nepal were trafficked to Saudi Arabia via Mumbai, mostly using fake passports. But the Indian aviation authorities at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport failed to detect the deception.

The latest trafficking racket came to light after one of the victims returned to Nepal and filed a complaint with police, saying she had been “gangraped” by her Saudi employer, his relatives and friends and her lawyer went to the media Friday to highlight her ordeal.

The woman, whose identity has not been released due to legal reasons, belongs to the Musahar community living in Sunsari, the district hit by a devastating flood this August and which was visited by Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during his three-day trip to Nepal this week.

The Musahars are among the poorest communities in Nepal, deriving their name from the practice of eating rats due to abject poverty.

The young woman was told by middlemen she would be able to earn Nepali Rs.15,000 per month if she went to work in Saudi Arabia as a domestic help. She went there this year on a fake passport and visa issued in the name of another woman, Nirimaya Dhimal Sawa, but carrying her photograph.

Since Nepal has banned its women from working in the Gulf as maids following the alleged rape and mysterious death of a domestic help years ago, traffickers have been increasingly using the Mumbai airport to slip their victims through.

Though the Nepali woman passed through the Mumbai airport on Aug 12, the forgery was not detected by the immigration authorities.

After returning to Nepal, the woman told Sunsari police she was gangraped everyday by her employer and his guests and was in an advanced state of pregnancy.

Police have arrested three men following her complaint, a Nepali daily said Friday.

According to the victim’s father, about 250 women from the village have been lured away by agents with the promise of well-paid jobs in the Gulf.

There are growing reports of traffickers using fake passports to reach their Nepali victims abroad. Though the New Delhi airport has a record of detecting passport forgeries, the vigilance at the Mumbai airport is considered to be slacker.

The Nepal incident came at a time when Mumbai was under siege by terrorists whose coordinated attacks since Wednesday night killed at least 125 people and triggered worldwide condemnation. Preliminary investigations indicate that some of the gunmen came by boat.

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