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Karachi

January 2, 2015

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Pakistan a key player in global women trafficking trade

Karachi
Pakistan has the third highest population of enslaved individuals in the world and is one of the key sources of women trafficking globally
Senior advocate Mohammad Ilyas Khan said this citing ‘Global Slavery Index’ report compiled by the Australia-based campaign Walk-Free during a seminar on ‘Trafficking in Person (TIP)’ for a better coordination among the law enforcement agencies (LEAs), government functionaries, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the civil society. The seminar was organised by the Federal Investigation Agency.
Khan said: “A recent report released by the US Department of State indicates that Pakistan has not undertaken satisfactory measures to combat the issue. This indicates that the country may face suspension of financial aid amongst losing other privileges. Currently, Pakistan is also facing challenges in implementing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), a critical anti-trafficking law that requires coordination with foreign governments to prevent trafficking and protect victims.”
He pointed out that young boys and girls were bought, sold, rented, or kidnapped to work by an illegal organised mafia. “In the field of agriculture, illegal labour agents charge amount and lure the parents while promising decent work for their children, who are later exploited and subject to forced labour in domestic servitude, unskilled labour, small shops and other sectors. Entire bonded labour families are held for the return of the loan they had got for marriage or other pressing demands,” the senior advocate said.
“The accused, who had trafficked children for camel jockeying in the United Arab Emirates, were not convicted and continued engaging to the illegal business. Girls and women are also sold into forced marriages; in some cases their new ‘husbands’ move them across Pakistani borders and force them into prostitution,” he made the startling disclosure.
Citing NGOs and police, he

said there were markets in Pakistan where girls and women were bought and sold for sex and labour. “Militant groups kidnap children or coerce parents with fraudulent promises into giving away children as young as 12 to spy, fight, or die as suicide bombers. The militants often sexually and physically abuse the children and use psychological coercion to convince the children that the acts they commit are justified,” Khan said.
Citing FIA’s Red Book, he said, the number of most-wanted human trafficking networks in Pakistan was 141 last year, 132 in 2012 and 95 in 2011. “The majority of these human traffickers belonged to Gujrat and Gujranwala, while the rest were from Sialkot, Rawalpindi, Mandi Bahauddin and Azad Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
He went on to say that the situation has aggravated further due to the country’s porous borders and huge lapses in the law and order system. “Advancements in technology have also made it easier for traffickers to communicate and coordinate across borders and carry out their operations in a more systematic manner.”
He said victims of trafficking experience feelings of helplessness, guilt, self-blame, shame, humiliation, depression and post-traumatic disorder. “In some cases, victims also resort to substance abuse to curb their depression which exacerbates the problem,” he said.
In his presentation, DIG Rapid Response Force Dr Aftab Pathan discussed internal trafficking and revealed that 62 cases of kidnapping or abducting a person under the age of 10 were registered under 364-A PPC in 2014. Twenty-three were sent for trial but there was zero conviction.
He said there were 19 cases of pending trial in this category; amongst them 13 were male, eight female and 61 children below 18.
The DIG said under the 365-B PPC 1569, cases were registered for kidnapping or abduction of inducting women to compel for marriage. Out of them 521 were sent for trial but there were only five convictions.
The number of pending trials was 425, including one male, 1352 females and 191 children below 18. Under 496-A PPC 418 cases were registered in 2014 for enticing or taking away or detaining with criminal intent a woman. Out of them 65 were sent for trial but none was convicted.
The number of pending trial was 64 and amongst them 415 were women and 20 children below 18.
Sarim Burney of Sarim Burney International Trust said there have been instances when babies were trafficked in carpets.
DIG Abdul Khaliq Sheikh said: “TIP is mother of all evils.” He said forced labour and child abuse were off shoots of the TIP.
He said Pakistan has an international obligation to eliminate slavery and acknowledged that there were laws but no linkages between different agencies to eliminate the menace of the TIP.
Zia Awan advocate said there was no law on adoption and false adoption culminates in trafficking.

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