It is clear that both the police and military are involved in support of trafficking groups, a fact accepted by government departments (I spoke at length with a spokesman from the Ministry of Women), but that little in real terms was being done about it. Corruption is rife at all levels in Nepal and is openly discussed within ministries and by the general populace. The following case offers some insight.
Kopila, a girl living near to [our former partner] Maiti Nepal's Transit Home, was taken by a local police inspector to a nearby police station on the pretext that he had work for her.
He kept her in a second floor office for four hours until all the day staff had left for the night. She was raped by the inspector and locked in the room. Approximately one hour later he returned with three other policemen. All four of the gang raped her. She was held until morning and then sent home, warned not to tell anyone or her parents' business would suffer (they have a small shop and tea stand near the border crossing).
Unable to cope with her situation and scared to go home, she came to the Transit Home. The rescue team were able to identify the men through Kopila and called for their arrest. The local chief of police refused, saying Kopila was lying. The rescue team had been able to retain her clothing and asked for forensic tests through the court. The police refused. The rescue agency took the matter up with police chiefs in Kathmandu and the men were finally arrested.
Subsequently all the files and Kopila's clothing disappeared, as did the girl herself. The police stated she had “decided to go to India to get married”. It is known locally that the family had been threatened. The case was dropped and the officers concerned transferred. While inspecting the border area we discovered that Kopila had returned. She refused to discuss the situation. The police have refused to re-open the case.
Peter Bashford, 2004