[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

NEPAL (Tier 2) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of Nepal does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so.  The government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Nepal remained on Tier 2.  These efforts included increasing investigations and identifying more trafficking victims.  Nepal’s Anti-Human Trafficking Bureau (AHTB) developed a training manual for investigating trafficking crimes.  In addition, the government introduced a new policy to allow previously unregistered migrant workers to regain legal registration to work abroad.  However, the government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas.  The government’s laws do not criminalize all forms of labor trafficking and sex trafficking, and the government did not finalize its long-pending draft amendments.  The government convicted fewer traffickers and concerns continued about official complicity in trafficking crimes.  The government did not finalize pending SOPs for victim identification and did not report if any identified victims were referred to services.  Officials’ identification of, and protection for, male trafficking victims and transnational labor trafficking victims remained inadequate.  The government continued to allow Nepali migrant workers to pay recruitment fees and related expenses with few measures to protect migrants from exploitation.

Prioritized Recommendations

Amend the Human Trafficking and Transportation (Control) Act (HTTCA) to criminalize all forms of sex trafficking and labor trafficking, in line with the 2000 UN TIP Protocol; implement victim-witness protection provisions; and remove a provision that allows the judiciary to fine victims if they fail to appear in court. 

Increase investigations and prosecutions, including allegedly complicit officials, and seek adequate penalties for convicted traffickers, which should involve significant prison terms. 

Constitute Local Coordination Committees on Human Trafficking (LCCHTs) in all localities. 

Establish SOPs for law enforcement to investigate human trafficking cases, including referrals between agencies. 

Finalize SOPs for victim identification while training front-line responders to increase referrals of trafficking victims to services.

Expand availability and capacity of victim care, including shelter and repatriation, for all victims, especially men and boys and workers exploited abroad.

Increase staff, training, and resources to the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) to facilitate full implementation and monitoring of the low-cost recruitment policy, and take steps to eliminate recruitment or placement fees charged to workers by Nepali labor recruiters. 

Engage destination country governments to create rights-based, enforceable agreements that protect Nepali workers from human trafficking. 

Consistently enforce strong regulations and oversight of labor recruitment agencies and sub-agents, and hold fraudulent labor recruiters criminally accountable. 

Significantly increase monitoring of children’s homes and orphanages and hold accountable those that do not meet the government’s minimum standards of care.

Provide documentation to stateless individuals, internationally-recognized refugees, and asylum-seekers to allow them to work, attend school, and access social services.