Authorities in the Indian capital Delhi have discovered a human trafficking ring who were sending girls from earthquake-ravaged locations in Nepal to Gulf countries.
According to reports, immigration officials at Indira Gandhi International airport detained 21 girls after their exit stamps from Nepal into India were found to be forged.
The girls reportedly told officials that they had been smuggled across the border by an “agent” and were being flown to an unnamed location in the Gulf with the promise of jobs.
Officials believe that the girls were smuggled to become prostitutes in the thriving sex trade in desert cities such as Dubai and Bahrain.
One official told the Times of India that the girls had all been “sourced” from areas worst-hit by the devastating earthquake in April which laid waste to large parts of Nepal and left some 9000 people dead.
The news of the girls’ interception comes days after the United Nations and international aid organizations warned that young girls from Nepal were at serious risk of being smuggled to become sex workers around the world.
The UN estimates that between 10,000 and 15,000 women and young girls are trafficked out of Nepal every year with a majority of them ending up as sex workers across India.
One man arrested in connection with the racket reportedly told police that he had helped smuggle 250 Nepali girls who were flown to various airports in India before being flown to Dubai and Saudi Arabia.
Reports say that immigration and airline employees at Indian airports had been paid off to turn a blind eye when the women were travelling.
Nepal is fast becoming a focal point for myriad forms of trafficking, including in humans.
Many campaigners in the country say that most smuggling is conducted by gangs in India.