Human trafficking on the rise in Pakistan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Human trafficking on the rise in Pakistan

KARACHI – The coastal belt from Karachi to Balochistan is still a paradise for human traffickers as the route to Iran is being used for this illegal and heinous practice. Human trafficking from Pakistan has gained momentum since the 1950s, said a report prepared by various NGOs on Thursday.

People belonging to poor and backward areas of Pakistan are among the cheapest labourers in the world and have been falling victims continuously to human trafficking.

According to Pakistan Thematic Group on Human Trafficking (PTGHT), the coastline between Karachi and Gwadar is often used for human trafficking for Gulf States by road to the border of Iran from where they are picked up by gangs and transported to Greece, Italy and Spain via ships.

The group revealed that the three main frequent routes used by traffickers in Pakistan include Makran coast, Thar and porous border with Afghanistan. In addition, the sea routes of Karachi, Ormara, Pasni Gawadar and Jiwani are easy routes to get to the Gulf. The favourite destinations of traffickers remain South East Asian countries such as Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea that are popular with semi-educated, labourer class. The common destination countries include Gulf and Saudi Arabia and amongst Western Europe and the UK are the most favourite destinations followed by Italy, Spain, Greece, Cyprus and Scandinavian countries.

Illegal recruiting agents, corrupt officials, parents, family, friends, relatives and the community are main actors involved in trafficking process, the group report said, adding, the public departments that can aid or abet this process may include immigration authorities, travel agents and passport’s issuing authorities.

Meanwhile, a large number of people mostly migrants from Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Mirpur) and from Gujrat and Jhelum started to migrate. Subsequently, the oil boom in Middle East forced public to exodus from the country. The unstable political and socio-economic conditions are major causes of desperation among public and providing impetus for the trafficking business to flourish, the report observed.

The report also mentioned that US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report (2004) noted that Pakistan is a source, transit and destination country for trafficked persons, and placed on the Tier-II of the US State Department’s list in 2005. It is also a source country for Middle East, transit point for East Asian countries and Bangladesh and destination point for women from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Afghanistan and Central Asia. According to report, around the world and particularly in Pakistan, trafficking is due to poverty, illiteracy, and unemployment.

Trafficking of women and children for entertainment and labour and sex industry is reported to be on the rise with every passing day. The ill-fated victims are subjected to different forms of exploitative work including domestic servants, bonded labour, agriculture workers and sweatshop factories, etc.

The PTGHT report further revealed that women are trafficked to Pakistan from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Myanmar, Nepal and Central Asian states for forced sexual exploitation.

“Pakistan is the source country for young boys who are kidnapped and trafficked to the gulf states as camel jockeys. Women and children trafficked from East Asian countries and Bangladesh often transit through Pakistan. A number of them are trafficked to the Middle East to work as bonded labourers or domestic servants. Women and children from rural and poverty-stricken areas of Pakistan are particularly vulnerable to trafficking to urban centres for commercial and sexual exploitation.
Source: The Nation