Human Trafficking in Pakistan

Do you believe that slavery has ended in this modern era of technology? Do you think that in today’s globalized, westernized, and educated world there are no traces of human trafficking found? Well you are wrong! Because slavery still exists; yes it has taken different forms and different angles but it is still attached to our societies like moth to trees.

So what basically is human trafficking? Human Trafficking comes under the banner of Modern Slavery which is when a person controls or possesses another person in a way which deprives that person of his or her basic rights of liberty and freedom. The intention of modern slavery is to exploit that person via their profit, use, disposal, or transfer. So human trafficking is trade of human beings, mostly for the aim of forced labor, sexual slavery, or commercial exploitation of sexual ways for traffickers and others.

According to United Nations Office of Drugs and Crimes, as of 2004, human trafficking gained approximately $7 billion to $9.5 billion per year. It is believed to be one of the rapid growing activities of the trans-national criminal firms. The under-developed and developing countries like Pakistan are the epitome of such activities because of corruption, mistrust in Government, unlawful activities and poverty.

Pakistan is a country where jungle rule applies. It is destination, source and transit country for trafficking of women, men, and children. The most common forms of trafficking prevalent in Pakistan are prostitution and labor. Labor trafficking is very common in brick making and agriculture; and less common in carpet-making and mining industries. Pakistan is among the ten worst countries when it comes to rape activities.

“According to the Fact Sheet presented by Chaudhry Sarwar of PTI, during the year 2015, 14,850 kidnap cases involving women, children and girls were reported in Punjab. He said some 2,000 women were kidnapped and 80pc of them were allegedly raped during last year while 15pc were killed. He also said 980 minors were kidnapped, including the newborns from hospitals; and this number is increasing on a rapid pace.” (DAWN; Jan 12, 2016).

According to well renowned TV Show Sar-e-Aam, Tando Mir Muhammad in Hyderabad, Sindh; and Lyari in Karachi are two huge centers for women and girls’ trafficking, sexual abuse, and prostitution for fifty years now. What is more disturbing is that girls are sold here, like commodities, from Rs.60, 000-above. Both democratic and military governments have done nothing to resolve this issue. The police are so corrupt that a few thousand bucks as ransom and traffickers are good to go.

The trafficking mania does not end here. Children and young boys are trafficked from rural areas of Punjab and Sindh and brought to large metropolitan cities like Karachi to work at extremely low wages at demeaning jobs. Kids who ought to be at school, are made to fetch tea and parathas at a corner hotel, or trained how to do car washing and maintenance at a workshop. Also, kids are made to beg against their will for the giant mafias. Moreover, hundreds of kids are trafficked from Pakistan to camel jockeying in UAE (United Arab Emirates). The trafficking mafia is so strong that those who have spoken for their rights are either killed or their daughters and sisters kidnapped and raped.

The Government of Pakistan has introduced Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO) which prohibits all kinds of transnational trafficking. But judges face difficulty applying for PACHTO due to confusions over the definitions and similar offenses in Pakistan Penal Code. The Government of Pakistan is making significant efforts to combat human trafficking in Pakistan but has still not met the minimum standards. Government lacks adequate processes to identify the victims of trafficking among the vulnerable population and to safeguard these victims.

The NGOs and Government is playing its part but still there is a long way to go. To combat human trafficking, the problem must be identified at grass-root level. The problem of human trafficking can and will be eradicated if corruption is eliminated with a top to bottom approach. Also, proper counseling and rehabilitation be provided for human trafficking victims. If we all work together towards the eradication of human trafficking, then it will be erased from our society saving thousands of innocent lives each year.