Civil society fails to stop human trafficking -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Civil society fails to stop human trafficking

KARACHI – We have failed, as a civil society, to stop human trafficking in our country. Men and children are more prone to human trafficking than women.

This was said by the panelists in a seminar organised by International Organisation for Migration in collaboration with Organisation for Safety Management under the title ‘Capacity Building on Counter Trafficking, Specialised Training for Media, Judiciary, Lawyers and Legal NGOs’. It was funded and sponsored by the US State Department.

It was stated that the government of Pakistan had introduced Prevention of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002 and Rules 2004 to check the menace of human trafficking in the country. But immigrants still migrating through illegal means either because of war-factor that has affected the Northern Areas of the country or for better employment opportunities.

Those who plan for human trafficking can face strict action with a five-year prison and fine penalty and if a person proceeds with his plan, seven-year prison and a heavy fine awaits him.

The panelists that included Regional Representative of International Organisation for Migration Hasan Abdel Moniem Mostafa, Sindh Secretary Women Development Gul Mohammad Umrani, Islamabad Director Law FIA Shaukat Ali Khan, Gujranwala FIA Inspector Mian Sabir, Section Officer MOI Usman Ghani Khattak, representative from Aurat Foundation Maliha Zia and Karachi FIA Deputy Director Khaleeq-uz-Zaman.

They discussed at length the difference between human trafficking and human smuggling. Human trafficking is a continued process and no consent is required from the person who is being trafficked, it is usually done across the borders and it happens through deception, coercion and exploitation. Human smuggling committed only with the migrants’ consent that ends on reaching the destination.

At least 39,869 people were deported in 2005, in 2006 about 25,126 people were deported and in 2007 the number was a much lower to 23,022 people. The figures provided by the Turkish government asserts that 50 people are deported on weekly basis. Many people were boarded to Iran, giving bad name to Pakistan. Many still reside in Spain, illegally; though originally they either belong to Gujranwala, Gujrat or Mandi Bahauddin. As many as 60 people are illegally going to Malaysia for establishing small businesses.

Interestingly, these people are treated as victims when they were being deported. But the question arises that should they being treated as victims and given protection or should they being charged under the criminal law offence.

Recently the UAE government has signed an agreement with International Organisation for Migration, in which they have chalked down three major issues of wages and labour, child jockeys and trafficked women coming from Central Asia.

But the lack of better employment opportunities, agencies cult, the bigwigs and influential people who are behind this mafia, help promote human trafficking at a large scale, and catching these criminals become a hard task to achieve.
Source: The Nation
Date:5/21/2008