3 Napalese get US honour for rescuing kids from Indian circuses

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Kathmandu, Jun 6 (UNI) The US has honoured three Nepalese for rescuing children from Indian circuses.

In this year's annual US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report (DSTPR) released by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, three Nepalese have been honoured as heroes in combating trafficking.

Bhim Lama, Ganesh Shrestha, and Kumar Giri of the Esther Benjamins Memorial Foundation Rescue Team are being recognised for their work in rescuing over 280 Nepali children from Indian circuses, the report said.

Amidst threats of beatings and intimidation, the trio made over 40 rescue missions to Indian circuses to liberate Nepali girls and boys from lives of misery, the report made available by US embassy in Kathmandu said.

Most of the children were trafficked at the age of eight or nine years, although some were as young as five years when they were sold off, it said.

Professional agents tricked the children's impoverished and illiterate parents into handing them over to the circus for just a few dollars. In reality, they were handing over their children to a life of malnourishment, harsh training schedules and vicious beatings by the circus staff. The girls were also sexually assaulted frequently, the report added.

This year's report includes a particular focus on issues related to forced labour -- an issue germane to Nepal. There is no change in the designation of Nepal as a Tier 2 country reflecting the country's efforts and challenges in eliminating trafficking in 2007.

The Nepal chapter of the new DSTPR notes a growing internal child sex tourism problem in Nepal, but credits the government with the enactment of the comprehensive Trafficking in Persons and Transportation (Control) Act in 2007, the report said.


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