The Exploitation-Trafficking Continuum in Labor Migration and the Need for Reform in Nepal
Every year, Nepali migrant workers report experiencing severe abuse, exploitation, debt bondage and forced labor while abroad. In some cases, where abuses are linked to coercion, fraud or abuses of power in the pre-departure phase of migration, these migrant workers could be considered victims of trafficking. At present, however, persons trafficked in the course of labor migration are falling through the cracks in Nepal’s law and its implementation – the foreign employment framework targets lower level abuses and the human trafficking framework is focused mainly on sexual exploitation and prostitution. Reform of the legal framework and its implementation is needed to better protect these vulnerable workers and to ensure their ability to access compensation and services as victims of trafficking, and to hold perpetrators accountable.