Seven Nepali girls, who were held captive in Kenya, have been rescued along with three Indian girls, The Kathmandu Post has reported quoting External Affairs Minister of India Sushma Swaraj’s tweet on Thursday.
The girls held captive in Mombasa, Kenya, were rescued in a joint operation by the High Commission of India in Nairobi and Kenya police, according to Indian officials.
Swaraj broke the news on Twitter about the rescued girls, supposedly victims of trafficking. “The girls were victims of an organised crime syndicate that indulged in trafficking of girls. Seven Nepalese girls were also rescued. Their passports and phones were taken and they were held captive in Mombasa,” Swaraj tweeted.
Officials in Kathmandu said they were closely following the matter in coordination with Nepali diplomats in South Africa. Nepal’s Ambassador to South Africa Amrit Bahadur Rai told the Post that the mission was working with Nepal’s Honorary Consulate in Nairobi.
“The rescued girls are in contact with our mission in Kenya. The consulate office will do everything necessary to help the Nepali girls,” Ambassador Rai said. The mission was preparing to help those who want to return home.
“Some want to go back to Nepal while others want to stay on for work. We’ll be supporting those who want to go back to Nepal. For the remaining ones, we’ll make sure their working environment is safe from exploitation before they go back to work,” Rai said.
For those willing to stay on, the embassy would check if their employer was doing a legal business or if the workers had labour permit while inquiring about the kind of job.
Nepali girls have long been lured to jobs in Kenya and other African countries. Most of them end up working in dance bars in countries like Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda after reaching there through informal channels and recruitment agencies, mostly based in New Delhi, according to the ambassador.
“Many Nepali girls are cheated and often fall victim to labour and sexual exploitation in these countries. We are conducting a thorough monitoring and discouraging Nepalis from coming to Africa through illegal channels,” Rai said.
An estimated 500 Nepalis are staying in Kenya, according to the Kenya chapter of the Non-resident Nepali Association.
In March 2015, police busted a human trafficking racket involved in supplying young Nepali women to dance bars in the Middle East and Africa. The Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police had arrested seven suspected traffickers.
CIB Spokesperson SP Jeevan Shrestha said they would probe the recent case in coordination with the Foreign Minister