568 women missing, 1,059 kidnapped in 2007 -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

568 women missing, 1,059 kidnapped in 2007

PESHAWAR: Zia Ahmad Awan, chief of the non-government organisation (NGO) Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA), said on Saturday that 568 women went missing and 1,059 cases of kidnapping were reported in the country in the current year.

Awan told “Alliance-building to combat women’s trafficking in NWFP”, a seminar organised by NGO Noor Education Trust (NET) in collaboration with Action Aid, that the data was compiled from newspapers. He feared, he said, that the women might have been trafficked to other cities.

“Efforts should be made to combat women trafficking, which is fast becoming a serious issue,” he said, adding that women’s poor social status and lack of job opportunities were the main reasons behind their exploitation and trafficking. He said the since cases involving women trafficking usually went unreported, the exact number of victims was unknown.

He said that because of their young age, lack of awareness and poor socio-economic conditions, the victims were unable to narrate their plight to the police, and those who did manage to do so were turned down. He stressed the need for educating the public on the issue.

Lawyer Akbar Ali Shah, project coordinator, said that an alliance to combat women’s trafficking had been launched in the Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi and Peshawar districts. He said that district advisory groups (DAGs) had also been formed to raise awareness about the issue.

“We have been collecting data since the launch of the project to fight women’s trafficking around six months ago, but it is a difficult job because people do not report such cases in these districts,” Akbar said.

DAG members from the four districts told the seminar that the problem mostly existed in the rural areas, where people often sold their young daughters to old men disguised as marriage.

NET Chairwoman Zubaida Noor also briefed the seminar on the issue and what NET was doing to make the situation better.
Source: Daily Times
Date:8/19/2007