Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a serious problem in Nepal, characterized by cross-border, international and internal trafficking of women, men, and children. Non-governmental organizations in Nepal estimate that as many as 15,000 Nepali women and girls are trafficked annually to India, while 7,500 are trafficked domestically for commercial sexual exploitation. In addition, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Nepali women become involuntary domestic workers each year within Nepal. While most attention is focused on the exploitation of women and children, cross-border labor trafficking of men is a growing concern. Returning victims more often file complaints under the Foreign Employment Act than identifying themselves as a TIP victim.
The Government of Nepal (GON) took an important step toward addressing this abuse of human rights by passing the Human Trafficking and Transportation Control Act of 2007 (TIP Act) which establishes a comprehensive legal framework to combat TIP. However, a persistently low rate of prosecutions reflects inadequate understanding and coordination on the part of law enforcement and judicial officials regarding their responsibilities under the law. While awareness is increasing, most rural populations remain largely unaware of the TIP Act and the risk factors that lead to human trafficking.
The $6.79 million Combating Trafficking in Persons (CTIP) project takes a holistic approach to address protection, prosecution, and prevention of trafficking in persons. The CTIP project builds the capacity of law enforcement and judiciary sectors to effectively apply the TIP Act, prosecution, and prevention. The project is implemented in six TIP-prone districts identified by the GON as source, transit, and destination districts. The project aims to:
- Strengthen protection services for TIP survivors
- Build capacity of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies to effectively enforce legal measures and increase prosecution
- Prevent trafficking by building awareness among groups that are vulnerable to sex and labor trafficking
PROTECTION - The CTIP project works to improve Nepal’s anti-trafficking guidelines that establish the national policies and standard procedures for services provided to trafficking victims by shelters, counselors, and the justice sector. In line with these standards, the project develops curricula and provides training to national and district level judicial and law enforcement sectors on victim protection. The project also rehabilitates and improves the structures of shelters, trains shelter staff to improve the quality of victim counseling, provides community education activities to emphasize the importance of survivor reintegration, and works with the GON to centralize TIP data collection and monitoring systems.
PROSECUTION - The CTIP project trains on the GON’s standard operating procedures for judicial and law enforcement sectors to improve enforcement, prosecution, and strengthen coordination between law enforcement and victim-care services. The program develops training modules and resources on topics such as victim confidentiality, victim-sensitive cross-examination techniques, and victim and witness protection. In collaboration with the Nepal Police, a policy framework for raid and rescue of trafficking victims is also being developed. The program provides legal aid—including legal counseling and court representation—to trafficking victims and survivors. It also trains judicial and law enforcement officials on effective application and enforcement of the TIP Act.
PREVENTION - The CTIP project builds linkages and collaboration between local government and civil society networks to effectively prevent TIP, with a focus on the changing trends of trafficking. The project created Safe Migration Networks to strengthen referral systems from local to national levels, as well as to upgrade and distribute career counseling and safe migration materials, including pre-departure information. The project trains the Networks on use of these materials and to engage communities in discussion for their safe migration. CTIP also mobilizes media to raise public awareness on safe migration, trafficking, and reintegration. It further provides financial advice and vocational skills training and encourages public-private partnerships to strengthen the livelihood of the disadvantaged communities most vulnerable to trafficking.
- Created over 250 Safe Migration Networks at the grass-root level consisting of almost 3,000 men and women representatives working as frontline service providers, accessible at any time to provide services like information, referral, protection support, and link to local government funds. These networks are increasingly becoming part of the existing institutional mechanism that operates at the grass-root level, ensuring its long-term sustainability.
- Reached about 32,000 vulnerable community members, raising their awareness of trafficking, safe migration, and their role and responsibilities in the process.
- Strengthened the operational capacity of 7 shelter homes established for TIP survivors on victim-centric approaches. This support contributed to 143 TIP survivors benefitting from basic TIP shelter services, such as food, skills training, and health, in a safe and secure environment.
- Provided psychosocial counseling services to 17 trafficked survivors, improving their reintegration into their communities. Developed and implemented a training curriculum, on communication skills and advocacy for community level facilitators to improve safe migration strategies in all six project districts.
- Trained 207 judicial and law enforcement officials on rights-based framework for effectively investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating human trafficking cases. This training directly contributed to 28 convictions—and 3 landmark cases—in 2012.
- Developed the National Minimum Standards for Victim Care and Protection with the Ministry of Women, Children, and Social Welfare, now being implemented by the National Committee on Combatting Human Trafficking.
Last updated: December 18, 2013