Janak Raj Sapkota in Kantipur, 20 May
A harrowing story of how Nepalis are paying a network of international traffickers to make arduous and expensive journeys through the Caribbean has just emerged as survivors returned to Nepal from Cuba.
Sumitra Kunwar from Bhaktapur was with two other Nepali women who paid human traffickers more than Rs 4 million, but she died of hunger and dehydration during the last leg of their perilous bid to get to the United States last year. Her decomposing body was thrown overboard by other passengers in a boat that ran adrift en route from Port au Prince to Florida.
Two other Nepali women were among those rescued by a Coast Guard vessel and sent back to Nepal from Havana. The two, who did not want to be identified, said they met Sumitra at a hotel in New Delhi who told them she knew an agent who could get them to the US for Rs 2 million each. The agent claimed to run a film company KP Films that was a cover for human trafficking. This company was in turn involved with Haiti Films, another dubious company run by Haitian national Charles Elesto who is involved in trafficking people into the US by boat through Port au Prince.