Nepal has banned children from travelling without parents or approved guardians to deter human traffickers who authorities fear are targeting vulnerable families after recent devastating earthquakes.
The Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare said the ban is aimed at protecting homeless children who are living in tent camps where there are large numbers of people.
Ministry official Ram Prasad Bhattarai said an approval letter issued by a district Child Welfare Board will be needed for any other adults traveling with children from one district to another.
The ban comes days after police stopped two groups of children who were being taken by unrelated adults by bus in different districts. The children are being held in government shelters and police are still investigating the cases.
International adoptions have also been suspended, he said.
Thousands of children are taken from Nepal to neighboring India every year to work as child laborers or in brothels.
Two powerful earthquakes devastated Nepal on April 25 and May 12, killing nearly 8,700 people and injuring about 16,800 others.
SOURCE: AP and agencies