A Timely Stop
This past June, our Border Monitoring staff in Panitanki, India stopped a blue hatchback taxi heading towards Siliguri, India. The vehicle was carrying a 26-year-old man named Reshma and a 21-year-old woman named Melina, both from Nepal.
During initial questioning, the couple refused to provide details and only said they were traveling to Mumbai, India. Melina claimed to be going for a tour of Mumbai. This story changed, however, after her mother was contacted by Border Monitoring staff. Melina’s mother stated her daughter told her she was going with her friends to tour Darjeeling, India. After the two travelers agreed to have their luggage checked, our staff found passports and flight tickets to Mumbai in their bags.
The Promise of Opportunity in Kenya
Upon further investigation, our staff confirmed that the two individuals had recently met for the first time and were traveling to Mumbai to then take a flight to Kenya. An agent named Bimal Tamang had shared their contact numbers and instructed them both to go to Kenya for employment opportunities.
A Mysterious Man
Melina met Bimal Tamang at a casino in Kathmandu where she would sometimes dance. He often wore a cap that hid the upper half of his face, to prevent anyone from fully recognizing him. Bimal had assured her that she would be paid more for her talent in Kenya than in Nepal. He had deposited NPR 60,000 into her bank account and had also promised to send her an additional NPR 40,000 after she boarded her flight to Mumbai. She was told she would work in a casino there while the other man would work at a restaurant as a cook or chef. Because Bimal used his own money to cover the expenses for the travel and visa, Melina and her travel companion were immediately at-risk of debt bondage.
A Close Call
Reshma has since returned to Kathmandu and is working in a hotel. He said that Bimal has not yet contacted him. Melina has returned home to her family. She told us that she was going to change her contact number to avoid any future attempts at communication by Bimal. She is also assisting us by gathering any information on Bimal she can, and further investigation is being carried out by our team in Kathmandu, Nepal.