Nepali girls held hostage for sex trade in Delhi, accused couple in police net
January 2, 2024 09:15 PM NPT
By: Arun Bam
KATHMANDU, Jan 2: A couple belonging to a gang who took Nepali girls to New Delhi, India, and exploited them in 'online sex trade' has been caught by the police.
It is said that the couple who run a gang that has been luring Nepali girls to Delhi for sex trade by offering attractive salaries were arrested by the Human Trafficking Investigation Bureau team of Nepal Police from New Delhi and brought to Nepal.
However, the Bureau said that the arrest was made on December 27 from the border area of Kanchanpur. According to the police, 35-year-old Tikaram Bhandari and his wife Tikakumari Oli of Galyang Municipality-7 in Syangja were arrested. It is also revealed that Oli introduces herself as Asmita Bhandari and Riya Oli.
The Bureau's team had been following both of them since mid-March, 2023. Nine girls who were taken to India on March 21, 2023 were rescued with the coordination of the Bureau. At that time, three people involved in trafficking the girls to India were arrested.
"Those three were people who were involved in the trafficking and are in custody pending trial in the case of human trafficking," said Superintendent of Police (SP) Krishna Prasad Pangeni, who is the spokesperson for the Bureau.
Recently, the Bureau received information that the Bhandari couple had again brought girls from Nepal. "While the investigation into the first incident was ongoing, we received information that the location had changed, and the girls were taken again. In collaboration with the Nepali Embassy in Delhi, Indian Police, and a local social organization, we rescued five victims," stated Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jeewan Kumar Shrestha.
During the rescue operation, the Bureau gathered sufficient information leading to the arrest of the Bhandari couple. The police are currently conducting further investigations, and the rescued victims have been placed in a secure shelter.
This is how they carried out their plans
According to the police, it has been found that the gang targeted poor women and working women inside Nepal to carry out their plans. The gang first tricked young women who were working in hotels, restaurants, and fancy shops for low wages in Nepal, saying that they would get a good job in India and the income would also be good.
After reaching India, the Bhandari couple kept the young woman hostage in a rented apartment in New Delhi's Kishangarh, according to the police investigation. It has been found that the couple would constantly monitor the girls through CCTV cameras. "After being taken there, the girls will then be forced into sex trade," said SSP Shrestha.
Police investigation has revealed that the Bhandari couple used online platforms to find clients while running a sex trade. For this, it has been found that they used an 'Online Prostitution' website portal. Similarly, the couple engaged clients through WhatsApp, taking payment online and sending the hostage girls to the place specified by the customer. SSP Shrestha said, "The young girls were given a SIM card in their mobile phone and kept her WhatsApp and Facebook ID with them for online surveillance."
According to the police, it was found that after engaging the girl in sexual activities, they kept 80 percent of the money received from the customer and gave only 20 percent to the girls.