Human Trafficking- A harsh reality!

Human trafficking, is an act of corruption that involves illegal movement of people across borders for prostitution, slavery, terrorism and other heinous activities. It has taken the shape of a serious human rights issue not just in Pakistan but all around the world and has a direct relation with corruption or what we call illegal acts. This issue has been going on for a long time but nothing has been done to resolve it, just because of some corrupt officials who turn a blind eye to the people being trafficked in return for bribes and money.

The Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index shows that Pakistan is one of the countries that are involved in human trafficking, the main reason being the corruption that stems up in the public sector which included ministries, and other law enforcement mechanisms. Corruption exists at all levels of trafficking, that is from the recruitment of individuals to their exploitation. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 46 per cent of the victims of trafficking know their recruiter. When these people are transported across borders, some law enforcement agencies and officials get involved and take bribes- They do not take into account the documentation that is required to cross borders and hence allow the people to be trafficked.

When the person reaches the destination, exploitation takes place in the form of sexual violence, beatings, torture, illegal confinement and denial of their identity and freedom. This is a clear violation of human rights as Article 3 of The Constitution of Pakistan points out The State shall ensure the elimination of all forms of exploitation and the gradual fulfillment of the fundamental principle, from each according to his ability to each according to his work”.

I remember my mother narrating a story to my father about how a distant relative’s maid’s daughter had been made a victim of human trafficking. Coming from a poor background, with a husband who was a drug addict, someone promised her a stable source of income every month if she would send her daughter to Sialkot to work for an affluent family. They received income for month but after that there was no news of the daughter. After much hue and cry, she was informed that her daughter had been sold off to someone and had been trafficked to an unknown destination.

There are many other kids like her who are trafficked to Arab countries on a regular basis. The Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000 offered greater protection to children, but has not being implemented. Similarly, UNICEF’s policies are also being overlooked. The National Accountability Ordinance 1999 exists in Pakistan which includes 14 years of imprisonment for the people involved in corruption, but it looks as if current legislation laws are not functioning.

Human trafficking is a grave issue and should be prevented at all levels in Pakistan. This can only be possible I feel, if all the acts that the Government of Pakistan has signed such as Prevention & Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance, 2002 and Emigration Ordinance, 1979 are implemented and at the same time a lot need to be done in terms of creating awareness.