BIRGUNJ, Nepal, Sept 13, (RTRS): As a canopied horsedrawn carriage emerged from a mushroom of dust at the Nepal- India border, Kavita Yadav’s policing instincts kicked in and she stopped it to chat with the couple.
Yadav checked their IDs and handed the woman a form to fill out: name, address, relationship with copassenger, family contact details, purpose of visit to India and destination. She only let them go after calling the young woman’s mother to verify the information. Yadav is not a police officer or a border guard. She is one of Nepal’s dozens of “human interceptors” – local women who scour the 1,751-km (1,094 miles) open border to stop traffickers smuggling young women and girls into India and abroad. “Watching thousands of people crossing the border every day is not easy,” said Yadav, 23, an interceptor with the charity KI Nepal, one of many working to tackle the menace. South Asia is the fastest-growing and second-largest region for human trafficking in the world, after East Asia, according to the United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Nepal is both a source and a destination country for victims with some 23,200 trafficked in 2016 – up from 9,500 the previous year – according to the country’s human rights commission. Neighbouring India is home to more slaves than any other country in the world with an estimated 8 million among its 1.3 billion population, according to the 2018 Global Slavery Index.
Victims, mostly from poor rural areas, are lured by traffickers with promises of good jobs, only to find themselves forced to work in fields or brick kilns, enslaved in homes as domestic workers, or as prostitutes.