What is significant about the report is the fact that this is an issue that occurs widely across the country but little is known about the number of women and girls who are trafficked, or in what manner this crime takes place. We hope, the report will lead to further investigation into the matter, and an attempt to follow the recommendations made by HRCP that stakeholders such as the FIA work together to try and resolve the problem by first understanding where and why it occurs most frequently.
According to the report, most of those trafficked are women, especially underage girls who are picked up for forced begging, forced marriage, and for the sex trade as well as for other exploitive purposes.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) on Wednesday released a study titled ‘Modern slavery: Trafficking in women and girls in Pakistan’, which identifies Pakistan as a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking.
“Although it is difficult to determine the magnitude of the crime — given a lack of reliable data — the HRCP is particularly concerned by the network of trafficking that exists internally, spanning sex trafficking, forced child labour, bonded labour, forced begging and forced marriage.
Economically vulnerable women and under-age girls are targeted in particular.”
The capacity of law enforcement agencies to identify and report trafficking must also be strengthened immensely.
A significant number of trafficked women and girls are re-victimised.
There is hardly any information available on how women and girls survive trafficking in long run. Therefore, a study should be conducted to highlight factors that help victims survive trafficking.
Addressing the long-term vulnerabilities of trafficked women and girls is extremely important to protect them from re-victimization.
The government should develop a comprehensive strategy for the rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked women and girls into mainstream society. Only short-term protection is not enough, it recommends.
Finally, the government must allocate adequate resources to implement anti-trafficking laws, encouraging better coordination among stakeholders, with targeted interventions for groups that are specifically vulnerable to trafficking.
We also need to study what other countries in the region may have done to deal with the problem and see if we can replicate some of the steps taken by them. Perhaps the region can work together to tackle trafficking and work out a joint strategy for this purpose.
What is certain is that trafficking is a common occurrence and thousands or even tens of thousands of women and children, if not more, may be affected each year. Clearly we need to work much harder than we have to eliminate trafficking. We should start by beefing up our laws and then working with our neighbours to secure our borders against human trafficking. There needs to be zero tolerance for trafficking, no matter how powerful those involved in the crime may be. This is a crime we have ignored for too long and the consequences are plain for everyone to see.