Parliamentary panel finds govt officials involved in human trafficking to Gulf countries

Published On: August 8, 2017 04:30 AM NPT By: Ashok Dahal  | @ashokpillar

KATHMANDU, Aug 7: Concluding that the officials of the Department of Immigration, staffers of airline companies and security personnel at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) have been involved in human trafficking, a parliamentary panel has suggested the concerned authorities to investigate and punish those involved in the misdeed. 

An eight-member sub-committee under the International Relations and Labor Committee of the parliament has made eight suggestions including punishment to the staffers at the TIA, according to a member of the committee. 

The sub-committee has prepared a report after field visits to Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE for 10 days in March. The report is scheduled to be tabled in the full committee for discussion on Tuesday. The sub-committee led by the committee's former chairman Prabhu Sah had travelled to the Gulf countries for field investigation. Members of the committee Ashok Mandal, Prem Kishor Sah Teli, Binod Shrestha, Radha Devi Timilsina, Rajya Laxmi Shrestha, Lalita Kumari Regmi and joint secretary at the committee Jhalak Sapkota were involved in the investigation. 

The sub-committee has found that 60 percent of illegal migrant workers travel to the Gulf countries via TIA and the remaining 40 percent from India, Sri Lanka and China. The same parliamentary committee had ordered the government to ban Nepalis traveling to the Gulf countries as domestic workers in first week of April after the field visit.

“It has been found that 60 percent of the Nepali workers taken to the Gulf countries as domestic helps had travelled through the TIA on visit visa or in collusion with the officials at the immigration office, security personals,  airline staffers and agents,” said a member of the probe committee citing the report. “We have suggested identification of those involved in the illegal work and punishment for them immediately.” 

The parliamentary panel in its report has also suggested mandatory labor agreement with destination countries and renewal of existing agreements. 

The report has also suggested that service charge to the human resource companies should be paid through the banking channel to trace if any manpower company has been charging extra amount. Lawmakers have also suggested appointing a lawyer at Nepali embassies in the Gulf countries for fighting cases involving Nepali migrant workers. 
Pointing out 11 different problems and plights of Nepali migrant workers, the parliamentary probe committee has also blamed the concerned government agencies for their apathy toward the rampant human trafficking. 

Organized human trafficking and smuggling, indifference of the state authorities in controlling trafficking and smuggling, deception of human resource agencies, exploitation through double work permit, sponsorship system, lack of adequate accommodation and food, ineffective diplomatic mission among others have been identified as major problems in the report. 

The report has mentioned that the decision of the government to send Nepali migrant workers with minimum expense has been a completely failure. According to the committee members, Nepali workers have said that they had to pay anything between Rs 50,000 to Rs 900,000 for jobs in various Gulf countries. 

The sub-committee had visited companies like Almurai, Plant Tech, Qatar Maid Service, Althani and Cleanco in four Gulf countries during the field inspection. According to the sub-committee members, all of those companies said that they had provided free visa and tickets to the workers. But Nepali workers are forced to pay heavy charges to the overseas manpower companies as commission. Some foreign companies have been found to be exploiting migrant workers by forcing them to sign separate work permit with low salaries than as promised before once the migrants reach the destination country.

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