Thinley Namgay 

The Thimphu Dzongkhag Court this week ordered a concurrent prison term of 13 years each to Karma Thinley and Dawa Dema from Nubi in Trongsa for the trafficking of 44 Bhutanese women to Iraq and Oman between 2018 and 2019.   

They have been in police custody since April 2022. They were in a relationship. 

The court also ordered them to refund visa fee charges ranging between Nu 2,500 and Nu 30,000 to 10 victims within 10 days.   

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) in April last year charged them with 44 charges for trafficking 44 women to Iraq and Oman through their agents in India, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and Oman.  

The mastermind behind it was the woman. The court stated that she sent women to the middle east to receive commissions from her labour agents despite knowing the risks involved for the victims. She received commissions between USD 1,100 and 2,200 for each woman.   

The defendant submitted that these women sought her help on Wechat and Facebook to help them find a job, and it was mutually beneficial. 

The victims were sent via Bagdogra-Delhi-Dubai to the middle east.   

The OAG stated that the women were duped with the promise of a good working environment in Iraq and Oman and a monthly salary between USD 350 and 400.     

The victims were told to maintain confidentiality about their actual plan and were briefed to lie to security officials that they were travelling for studies, as tourists or to meet their relatives. 

All of these women went on tourist visas. However, upon reaching the destinations, the trafficking agencies seized passports and demanded USD 4,000 to 9,000 if they breach the agreement and aspire to return. The court mentioned that few women received USD 350 per day as maids but the working duration was too long. 

When the girls informed Dawa Dema about their situation, the defendant demanded Nu 600,000 from each of them. Dawa Dema refuted these charges.   

Moreover, she submitted to the court that Karma Thinley wasn’t involved.  However, the court found out that he aided her by sending the victims from Phuentsholing to Delhi.  

As per the media focal of the Supreme Court, 23 cases related to human-trafficking were registered at Thimphu Dzongkhag Court as of now.

“Judgments were passed for 10 cases with the sentence ranging from three to 13 years,” the official said.