Human trafficking: GLO.ACT project launched in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The European Union, UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and Unicef on Wednesday launched the Global Action (GLO.ACT) project in Pakistan with the aim to prevent and address trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants.
The project, GLO.ACT, has been started in view of the fact that Pakistan is one of the destinations, transits, and source countries for smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.
UNODC also kicked off a countrywide campaign for creating awareness about the menace of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, in collaboration with the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection and US Department of State.
According to the UNODC report, it is estimated that in 2013 there were more than four million irregular migrants. Afghans comprised the largest group of around 2.7 million people followed by the combined population of Bengali, Bangladeshi, and Burmese nationals which made up over one million people.
Meanwhile, a research carried out in Pakistan revealed that most of the traffickers and victims belonged to the four districts of Punjab – Sialkot, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala and Gujrat – and were trafficked or smuggled via Balcohistan to Iran and then to elsewhere.
Addressing participants at the launching ceremony of the project at a local hotel, the UNODC representative Cesar Guedes said, “A comprehensive legislation on human trafficking and migrants smuggling is under serious consideration by the Government of Pakistan’s national legislature.”
He said the member states were transforming these into real instruments of protection, reflecting emerging forms and crime trends, and establishing institutional frameworks for coordination and accountability in all regions of the world.
“The seriousness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that UN General Assembly and the Security Council recently addressed these matters .Yet a lot remains to be done,” he reiterated.
Quoting example from UNODC 2016 Global Report, he said trafficking in persons has shown that traffickers continue to benefit from weaknesses in our collective criminal justice response, adding that the globalised nature of these crimes had devastating impacts on shared communities.
“The GLO.ACT aims to strengthen the criminal justice response to trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants in 13 strategically selected countries across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Latin America through till 2019,” he added.
He said the nationwide campaign utilised different mediums and tools to engage general public and relevant stakeholders in a variety of ways, he said.