ISLAMABAD: United States Embassy Islamabad in collaborating with Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO) concluded a two-day international conference on countering Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in Pakistan.
The theme of the conference was to strengthen institutional capacity to reduce trafficking in persons and also help victims get needed support.
Besides 200 US alumni, lawyers, journalists, police and FIA officials, civil society, NGOs workers, politicians, students, US and Pakistan anti-human trafficking experts and scholars, parliamentarians, academia and officials attended the conference.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa DIG Investigation Zaibullah Khan, FIA Director Muhammad Alam Shinwari, DIG Nida Chatta, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, Pir Allama Muhammad Zubair Abid, FIA Director Humayun Sindo and US head of the mission Andrew Schofer were the key speakers who shed light over the root causes and reasons of the human trafficking.
US Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome was the guest of honour on the occasion.
At his opening remarks, Blome said the human trafficking erodes the rule of law and the safety of various communities. Blome said when they make efforts together across government, business and civil society they could achieve the goals of combating human trafficking and could create a fairer and more equitable world.
Shehla Raza acknowledged the efforts of the US government in supporting anti-trafficking efforts in Pakistan.
She also thanked sustainable social development organisation and the Pakistan-US Alumni Network (PUAN) for their work.
Shehla Raza said Pakistan’s struggle for eliminating human smuggling had become a disaster for the country. She said the numbers of human trafficking cases were gradually increasing. She urged the relevant authorities and civil society to cooperate with the government so that they could cope with the issue effectively. She said the journalists, ulemas and government must join hands for this national cause. Shehla Raza said various segment of life not taking interest to overcome the human smuggling menace.
FIA Director Muhammad Alam Shinwari said that Pakistan worked a lot on curbing the trafficking in person. He said more than 200 FIRs registered across Pakistan in 2022 regarding TIP. He said they need to develop hotline so that they could reach to the TIP cases quickly. He suggested to establish dash board online which could be reached by those who want to follow the cases.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa DIG Zaibullah Khan said the human smuggling and trafficking had become the third largest crime agency in the world. He said there was some flaws not only in police and other law enforcing agencies but they had to work more on the prosecution process that would also benefit the victims.
Zaibullah said it was the FIA domain dealing the human smuggling but after the new law passed recently the whole Pakistan’s police were given authority to coordinate with law enforcing agencies to root out the inhuman crime. He said bonded labors and slavery were also major issues in some parts of Pakistan. He said police need trainings and capacity building specifically on human trafficking so that they could deal the cases accurately.
He said the human smuggling subject was inducted in the police curriculum and it will be taught from next year. He said it was also suggested to make the human trafficking topic in primary level curriculum.
SSP Nida Chatta of Sindh police said in some cases legal guardians due to extreme poverty had put their children in forced labours and sexual activities. She said more than 400 cases of TIP registered in the past few months in Sindh.
Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed also shared his views and recommendations. He said in a single day more than 100 people were being smuggled indigenously and went into the hands of human smugglers who transport them abroad. He said the corrupt system in Pakistan was responsible for human smuggling that had been facilitating traffickers to misuse youth and children to earn money. He said an effective mechanism could help to cope with human trafficking.
Mushahid claimed that Daesh (ISIS) pay dollars 300 to each child when join their ranks in Afghanistan.
Terresa Chang of US embassy said the human trafficking was not the issue in Pakistan. She said it was a global phenomena that had to be addressed collectively. She said they had to work on protection and prosecution of the victims so that they could fight human smuggling.
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