A total of 1,007 trafficking cases were registered in the courts in the fiscal 2013/14, which increased to 1,092 in the fiscal 2015/16, says a report recently published by National Human Rights Commission.
“Human trafficking cases account for less than one per cent of the total cases in the courts of Nepal. However, it is 1.6 per cent in case of the Supreme Court, 1 per cent in the high courts and 0.3 per cent in the district courts. “Studies suggest that investigation process is largely dependent on victims and perpetrators rather than evidences,” read the National Report on Trafficking in Person 2015/16,” reports The Himalayan Times.
Apart from political pressure, there is a lack of legal provisions to address the new dimension of trafficking related to foreign employment. The possibility of innocent people being accused is also high due to mass migration for foreign employment, added the report.
A five-year average number of trafficking cases registered in the Supreme Court stands at 127 while the five-year average number of trafficking cases settled by the court is just 15. Conviction rate ranges from 23 per cent in the fiscal 2014/15 to 67 per cent in the fiscal 2015/16. However, five-year average conviction rate stands at 40 per cent only. On the other hand, backlog is very high — more than 80 per cent — in each fiscal.
The five-year average number of cases registered in the high court stands at 245 and five-year average conviction rate 42 per cent. On the other hand, the five-year average pending rate is 49 per cent. In the fiscal 2015/16, of the 299 cases of human trafficking, 154 were related to ‘selling of a person’ and 145 were related to ‘human transportation’. The conviction rate for the former cases was 27 per cent and for the latter 39 per cent.
The number of trafficking cases, conviction rates and pending trails, however, varies in high courts. There are relatively large number of trafficking cases registered in the high courts in Patan, Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, Hetauda, Pokhara and Ilam.
Among the high courts, conviction rates ranged as low as 0 per cent in Janakpur to about 30 per cent in Hetauda and Biratnagar to 57 per cent in Patan and 100 per cent in Baglung and Tulsipur. A relatively large number of pending cases are found in Biratnagar, Patan, and Nepalgunj high courts.
In the fiscal 2015/16, a total of 293 cases were recorded in the high courts in Nepal.
Among the high courts, it is the Patan high court that had the highest number of cases (91) while Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Biratnagar and Ilam high courts also had also considerable number of cases from 25 to 32. The conviction rate was zero in Ilam high court that settled nine cases of trafficking in the fiscal year and it was less than 30 per cent in Patan and Nepalgunj high courts. In the fiscal 2015/16, a total of 395 human trafficking cases were registered in the district courts of Nepal, states the report.