Reports in India media regarding a Sri Lankan travel agent getting arrested in Mumbai airport, India for allegedly trying to take three Bhutanese women to Sri Lanka is yet to be verified, according to officials from foreign ministry, labour ministry and National Commission for Women and Children (NCWC).

Foreign secretary Sonam Tshong said that the ministry has not received any reports regarding the case yet. “Although there are news about it online, but there is no proof.”

He said that trafficking was subjective and that although there are concerns on the safety of these women, there was a need to get in touch with them first.

“We take any sort of these issues seriously. However, it is difficult to stop people from going out. If any Bhutanese need assistance then we try to facilitate them within the limitation.”

The report had been forwarded to the division concerned and information would be updated as soon as possible, he said.

The Times of India report, posted online on June 15 stated that police officials suspected that a man named Mohiuddin Fayaz, possibly intended to force these women into sex trade.

According to the news, the three women had been promised jobs with high income in a men’s spa in Iraq. The media also reported that a woman agent in Bhutan introduced these women to the travel agent.

NCWC’s executive director Kunzang Lhamu, said that there is not enough information at the moment. “It is too early to share anything.”

She said that NCWC and Royal Bhutan Police along with other stakeholders would work together and investigate the case.

“All of these women seem to be very young which is all the more reason to protect and prevent such incidents from happening in future.”

Labour ministry officials also said that so far there has not been any reports received related to the case.

Rinchen Zangmo