Human trafficking the root of many social evils, say experts
KARACHI: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has launched an initiative to bridge the gap between the civil society and government institutions working to counter human trafficking. The move is hoped to reduce the incidents of human trafficking in the province.
“Sindh is the first province to take measures to bridge the gap and enhance coordination between different institutions working on this common agenda,” said the deputy director of the human trafficking cell, Muhammad Ashfaq Alam Khan.
He was speaking at a consultative workshop comprising members of the civil society, public departments and non-government organisations, titled ‘Trafficking in Persons’ at the Beach Luxury hotel on Tuesday. Khan said that his department planned to work with all institutions to reduce the menace of human trafficking. “We want to establish a secretariat where all the intuitions can interact, share their data and work together,” he briefed the participants.
“It is a very important, albeit neglected issue in Pakistan,” said DIG South Abdul Khalique Shaikh. Counting various related issues, such as child labour, bonded labour, prostitution, child abuse and violence against women, Shaikh said that most of these issues could be handled if human trafficking was controlled. “These are all offshoots of this very issue,” he said.
Shaikh said that awareness among law enforcement agencies was required, adding that it was the need of the hour to develop better coordination between the institutions. He said that the police have a general misconception that it was a matter only the FIA should deal with. But the police’s role is very important in tackling internal trafficking.
“It is not just the FIA that must deal with this issue,” said human rights activist, Advocate Zia Awan. “The FIA is not present everywhere but the police can keep a watch over every street.”
Awan criticised the lack of proper planning and policies for issues such as migration and adoption. “We should have a systematic database. There should be complete interaction with the civil society,” he suggested. “We also export beggars,” said Awan, adding that the situation was very painful and it was high time a task force be formed at the provincial level to deal with the issue.
Country coordinator of the Pakistan at terre des hommes-Germany, Salam Dharejo, also stressed to bridge the gap between public institutions and the civil society. He suggested that all organisations must share yearly data with the FIA.
Narrating a story, Seema Nazneen, the assistant director of the Social Welfare Department, Sindh, said that a couple from South Africa came to Pakistan to adopt a child. “They needed the no-objection certificate from our department but we rejected it,” she recalled, adding that a law on adoption did not exist.
Sharing his department’s major issues, Syed Athar Shah, the deputy director of the provincial labour department, said that the child labour and bonded labour were two major issues that needed to be addressed immediately. He revealed that his department had constituted vigilance committees in 15 districts of Sindh.