A Nepalese court has jailed a man for a record 170 years for trafficking teenage girls to work as prostitutes in India, a public prosecutor said on Thursday.
Bajir Singh Tamang, 37, was convicted of recruiting teenagers from the countryside with promises of better lives, to work as maids in the Middle East and India before selling them to Indian brothel owners.
Six victims aged under 16 rescued by human rights groups in 2007 and 2009 had pressed charges against Tamang, district attorney Krishna Jung Shah told AFP.
“He was charged for illegally recruiting the girls, selling them to Indian brothels and also running a prostitution ring,” said Shah, the government prosecutor in Sindhupalchok, the central district where Tamang was convicted.
Shah said the sentence, the longest in the country’s 62–year judicial history, had been made possible after new sentencing guidelines were introduced five years ago to promote longer jail terms for human trafficking.
“The sentence was handed as an aggregate based on the six cases. This is the first time a jail term this long has been delivered in Nepal’s legal history,” Shah said, adding that Tamang would also be fined 1.3 million rupees ($14,583).
The district court also jailed two of Tamang’s accomplices for 12 and 16 years.
Local NGOs say 20,000 Nepalese girls and women are trafficked to India each year to work in the country’s lucrative sex industry.