Kathmandu: Two China nationals, who had been living in Nepal in the guise of tourists, have been sent to judicial custody on charges of trafficking Nepalese girls aged between 19 to 22 to Laos and forcing them to get involved in illegal cyber businesses, The Himalayan Times reported.

Issuing an order, Kathmandu District Court sent Chen Yang (30) and Ruan Chaohong (33) of Fujian, China to prison until the final verdict. The two Chinese nationals have been living in Thamel for months to find and lure suitable girls to traffic them abroad, according to The Himalayan Times.

Chen Yang, a permanent resident of Sichuan and Ruan Chaohong of Fujian were arrested after an FIR was filed by three girls and their parents, the report said.

Further, according to the news report, the girls were trafficked to Laos on the pretext of attractive jobs. The girls even paid around Rs 400,000 to the Chinese national who gave them the false impression that it was a genuine company that sent skilled manpower to foreign countries, the report said.

Chen Yang used to act as a legal person operating overseas services from Kathmandu and lured women from rural districts like Sindhupalchowk and Arghakhanchi and Chaohong, the news report said, adding that the girls were made to appear for a job interview in countries like Laos where they were to be trafficked.

The fraudsters would cheat the girls by saying they could earn from USD 1,000 to USD 1,500 by working as cleaners in supermarkets and hotels. The girls had travelled to Laos on September 2.

After reaching Laos, the girls were forced to work with computers and mobile phones in call centres and get involved in illegal activities about which they had no idea, the report said.

The traffickers even purchased SIM cards and created fake IDs for the girls on social media. The trafficked girls, whose passports and identity cards were seized by the operators, were told to speak to Europeans and Americans to lure them into investment in illegal gambling and other digital financial transactions, according to The Himalayan Times.

The girls were even forced to lure other foreigners to invest in bitcoins, the report added.

Finding it difficult to work in such conditions, the girls with the help of other Nepalese people ther, returned to their country after three months, the report said, adding that the victims were not given compensation for living in Laos.

Superintendent of Police Dan Bahadur Malla was quoted by The Himalayan Times as saying, "The traffickers used to say they would shoot them if they tried to flee or didn't report for their jobs. The fraudsters held their passports and other documents and forced them to work for hours without break."