Incident Reports

Trend of women, children missing from Jhapa on rise


Family disputes, desire to earn money at young age, influence of human traffickers and failure in studies have been attributed to the missing of a large number of women and children from Jhapa district. In many cases, no one, including the family members, have any clue about those who go missing. In some cases, young women have been found to leave for foreign employment without informing their guardians and go missing in foreign lands afterwards. According to police, there are high chances of women and children who disappear ending up in human traffickers' net. But in many cases even the women who go abroad with the full knowledge and consent of their family members too disappear. Sharmila Kisan Magar of Bahundangi VDC-9, left for Saudi Arabia 16 years ago leaving her one and a half years old daughter and seven-month-old son behind. She has not returned yet. Her children have now grown up and are raising their own families, but Sharmila's whereabouts is still unknown. "We have heard from others that our mother had gone for foreign employment. We were still very young when she left. We have never heard from her," her son Anil said. In another case, a schoolgirl went missing from Shantinagar eight years ago. She had gone to school one day and never returned. The family reported the matter to the police after a month, but the search for the girl has proved futile. Police are receiving many such complaints from the families of missing children and women, according to Police Inspector Ganesh Koirala at District Police Office (DPO), Jhapa. "She might have eloped with her lover or gone abroad in the hopes of getting employment. She could have been lured by human traffickers," he said. In the current fiscal year alone, police received 96 complaints about disappearance of women. Of them, 45 have been found while the remaining 51 are still missing. Those missing are mostly from economically weak families. Likewise, 53 children below 18 years went missing from the district within the last ten months. Of them, 30--16 girls and 14 boys--have been found while 23--13 girls and 10 boys--are still missing. As per the women cell of Kakadvitta Police, 234 complaints of missing people, including men, women and children, were registered in the last three fiscal years. Only 50 of them have been found with 184 still missing, according to police. But police say, family members rarely inform them after their missing kin are found, which might have caused the figure to remain high. Although the trends show the missing to be mostly young women, recent cases indicate a growing trend of children disappearing from the district. Meanwhile, Women and Children Development Office (WCDO) said, human trafficking, family disputes, domestic violence, abuse, and search for employment are responsible for the disappearance of such a large number of women and children. Most of the missing women have been found to fall in the age group of 16 to 25 years.