07/07/2016, 15.00
NEPAL
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Kathmandu: Eight Communist politicians arrested for human trafficking

by Christopher Sharma

The lawmakers are accused of providing their assistants’ identity to the victims to travel to Spain. The case broke when the Spanish Embassy in Delhi found irregularities in the travel documents. Nepal is becoming an international hub for human traffickers.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) – Eight Nepali lawmakers have been charged in connection with a human trafficking case.

The eight, who are members of the country’s Maoist party, are accused of providing eight people with fake papers to travel to Spain as their personal assistants. This included a request for diplomatic passports for such “assistants”, Nepal’s Foreign Ministry said.

When the Spanish Embassy in Delhi (India) checked the travel documents it found irregularities. “The documents did not match,” said Jagat Man Shrestha, a senior police officer. For now, “the investigation is to continue.”

At least one lawmaker acknowledged what happened. “My personal aide is a different person and the documents were managed in the name of another person to go to Spain,” she said.

However, the others denied responsibility, saying they did not know why the victims were connected to them.

One of the people that was supposed to go to Spain said that "Communist parliamentary have now begun to traffic innocent citizens. This is bad luck for poor Nepalis."

Pankaj Gurung admits he was the victim of a scam. "I do not know how it happened, but I paid money to be sent abroad for work."

This is the second scandal to hit Nepal in recent days and puts the spotlight again on human trafficking.

On 26 June, Punya Prasad Dangal, a 75-year-old teacher and guru, was arrested on charges of cheating a large number of young people out of their money by convincing them to pay him so that he could get them abroad (mainly to Japan, the United States and Canada) as earthquake victims.

Last year, following a massive quake in April, thousands of Nepali children disappeared, reportedly taken by human traffickers.

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