More than a year after the Office of Attorney General (OAG) charged three women for human trafficking, Thimphu dzongkhag’s criminal bench I sentenced the defendants.

In the judgment rendered last week, Dawa Dema, 38, from Trongsa, Tshering Zangmo, 46, from Thimphu and Tandin Wangmo, 23, from Trashiyangtse were sentenced for trafficking and attempting to trafficking Bhutanese women to Iraq.

 Dawa Dema was sentenced to a year and half in prison for attempting to trafficking two women to Iraq.

 According to the judgment, she called the two women to Delhi in March 2018 and introduced them to an illegal agent named Nazir Akbor by promising the girls that they would be working in Iraq as a housemaid for two years with a monthly salary of USD 350.

It stated that she received INR 50,000 from Nazir Akbor as commission, kept the two girls in a hotel in Delhi for 21 days, took their passport to process visa and air ticket to go to Iraq, but when the girls learnt about dangers of working in Iraq, an Indian named Mickey Singh helped them and sent back to Bhutan.

 Defendant Tandin Wangmo was convicted to three years for trafficking a woman to Iraq and one year and six months for attempting to trafficking three women to Iraq.

According to the judgment, she deceived one woman by claiming to be a business officer of an agent in Iraq and promising the woman a 5am to 9am work with a monthly salary of USD 500 with free accommodation, mobile vouchers and clothing. 

Tandin Wangmo took the woman to Delhi in May 2018, kept her at a hotel and introduced her to Nazir Akbor. She also received INR 60,000 as commission, but again introduced the woman to another agent named Mohiddin Pichai Mohhammad Faiz, who is from Sri Lanka and sent the woman to Iraq through him after taking a commission of INR 50,000.

The woman was sent to Erbil, Iraq, via Dubai on May 23. She was made to work for 11 to 12 hours in a parlour in Erbil and paid only USD 350 a month. The employer also seized her passport.

Tandin Wangmo tricked another three women using the same modus operandi, took them to Delhi in June 2018  and introduced them to the agent from Sri Lanka, Mohiddin Pichai Mohhammad Faiz.

The women travelled to Mumbai from Delhi with the agent on June 12, 2018. Although the agent planned to take the women to Sri Lanka, customs and immigration officers in Mumbai intercepted them, and handed the women to Bhutanese Embassy in Delhi. The women were brought back to the country on June 17 that year.

The court ordered Tandin Wangmo to repay Nu 3,000 each of all three victims within a month as she took that amount earlier from the girls to process passport.   

The third defendant, Tshering Zangmo, was convicted to a year and six months in prison for aiding and abetting and failure to report the crime, as she helped Tandin Wangmo to deceive the women.  

Tshering Zangmo told the women that they should tell customs and immigration officers that they are going to Iraq to meet friends or relatives on a tourist visa. She was also found guilty of convincing the women that Tandin Wangmo had been working in Iraq and there was nothing to worry.  

She was also found guilty of failing to report the crime although she knew Tandin Wangmo was trafficking the women. She was also ordered to pay Nu 3,750 to the government.

By Thinley Namgay 

Edited by Tashi Dema