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BIMSTEC foreign secretaries meet today

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KATHMANDU — A meeting of foreign secretaries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) member states — chaired by Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi — begins in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

The meeting will discuss issues related to clustering the areas of co-operation or downsizing them, strengthening the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, and reviewing past achievements by the group, according to Foreign Ministry Assistant Spokesperson Rambabu Dhakal who further said the the meeting will prepare the agenda for the scheduled ministerial meeting as well as work on the draft for the Kathmandu declaration.

BIMSTEC foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to discuss the Kathmandu Declaration.

After completing two meetings of the senior officials and foreign ministers, formal opening of the summit will take place on Thursday,according to the itinerary.

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President Bidya Devi Bhandari, before the opening session of the summit, will meet with BIMSTEC leaders at her office and will host a luncheon in honour of the visiting delegates.

The heads of government will start arriving in Kathmandu on Wednesday. But Myanmar President Win Myint will be the first head of state to land in Kathmandu, with his special aircraft scheduled to touch down at Tribhuvan International Airport at 2:45 pm Tuesday.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Bhutan’s Chief Justice and Chief Adviser to the Interim Government Tshering Wangchuk will land in Kathmandu on Wednesday, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will reach on Thursday morning.

Formal opening of the summit will take place in Hotel Soaltee, where all the heads of state/government will make their opening remarks during a programme chaired by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

In the evening, Oli will hold talks with members of the delegation.

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BIMSTEC leaders will hold an informal meeting at Hotel Soaltee on Friday. Following the event, the heads of government will participate in the closing ceremony of the summit, where the BIMSTEC Kathmandu Declaration will be adopted.

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About 7,029 girls, women rescued from traffickers in five years

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KATHMANDU—A total of 7,029 women and children were rescued from border by Nepal Police in the past five years.

They were rescued from Jhapa, Ilam, Morang, Udaypur, Sankhuwasabha, Parsa, Sarlahi, Mohottari, Siraha, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Nuwakot, Sindhuli, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Gulmi, Dang, Banke, Bardiya, Jumla, Kailali and Kanchanpur while being trafficked. Out of those rescued, 3,896 were under the age of 18 years.

According to Nepal Police Spokesperson and Senior Superintendent of Police Uttam Raj Subedi, Nepali women and girls are vulnerable to trafficking due to the porous border with India.

Januka Dhakal, vice-chair of Samaj Utthan Mahila Manch, an organisation which has been working to prevent trafficking of girls and women, said lack of awareness and poverty made women and girls more vulnerable to trafficking. The traffickers target such women and girls with the promise of lucrative jobs in foreign countries.

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Most of such women end up in brothels in India.

Girls and women are trafficked mainly for prostitution, sex slavery and forced labour.
Nepal’s anti-trafficking law stipulates 20-year jail sentence and a fine up to Rs 200,000 for anyone found guilty of human trafficking.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has approved a proposal submitted by Inspector General of Police Sarbendra Khanal seeking establishment of Human Trafficking Bureau and Cyber Bureau.

The Ministry of Finance has allocated budget for setting up the two bureaus. Nepal Police hopes that it will be easier to prevent trafficking of girls and women after the bureaus are set up.

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