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Gulf Migration Takes a Shocking Toll on Nepali Women

On September 13, 2010

Gulf countries are rapidly turning into a hub of human trafficking, according to this article here in the Himalayan Times (Nepal). Women are at increasingly high risk of trafficking and exploitation in the region, and often return to Nepal with serious physical and psychological problems:

According to ‘Trafficking in Persons Report 2010’, many Nepali migrants seek work as domestic help, construction workers, or other low-skilled jobs in gulf countries, Malaysia, Israel, South Korea, and Afghanistan through labour brokers and manpower agencies. They travel willingly, but subsequently face conditions of forced labour such as withholding of passports, restriction on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, deprivation of food and sleep, and physical or sexual abuse.

Achyut Kumar Nepal, information officer at Maiti Nepal, said gulf countries are becoming ‘risky zones’ in terms of human trafficking. Most women who return from
the Gulf have been diagnosed with mental disorders.

According to a report from Maiti Nepal, a Nepali NGO, only 33% of Nepali women who return from the Gulf are free from health problems, and of the remaining 67%, 57% were suffering from psychological problems, 2% had fallen pregnant and 4% had tuberculosis.

“Women who arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) come penniless and fully traumatised because they are subjected to physical and mental exploitation,”

Nepal told the Himalayan Times. Maiti Nepal has now set up a help desk at Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu to monitor women going to Gulf countries.