Achieving greater coordination between law enforcement agencies and local communities is a vital step in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling

 

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP AwarenessGilgit, Pakistan - 2 May 2018 - Trafficking in persons (TIP) is a global problem. One step that can be taken to help combat this crime is to improve the coordination between local communities and law enforcement agencies. Over recent years, the government of Pakistan has taken serious steps to counter TIP and the smuggling of migrants (SOM), including the development of the "Strategic Action Framework to combat Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling 2016-2020" and the passing of relevant national legislation. Nonetheless, a lot more work needs to be done to raise awareness about TIP, particularly on the terrible impact this crime has on its victims.

It is in this context that UNODC, under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), made prevention one of its key focus areas when engaging with the police and local communities in Pakistan. Most recently, from 26-27 April 2018, GLO.ACT in partnership with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) organized two awareness-raising sessions in Gilgit for members of the police and the local community. The first session was attended by 25 police officers, while over 50 representatives from academia, the media and civil society organizations attended the second session.

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP AwarenessThe main objectives of the sessions were to provide some in-depth information about TIP, with a focus on what makes people vulnerable to potentially being trafficked as well as what the impact of being trafficked may have on a victim. The aim of the sessions was for participants to:

  • Understand what TIP is and how to prevent it;
  • Understand what human rights have to do with the issue;
  • Gain insights into identifying traffickers and TIP victims;
  • Gain insights into emerging areas of concern/latest trends with regards to TIP,
  • Gain insights into the identification and protection of child victims of TIP;
  • Understand how to approach a rescue operation of TIP victims, especially TIP victims working in brick kilns, which included a special focus on women and children;
  • Understand cross-border trafficking and why national and regional cooperation and coordination are so important; and
  • Gain insights into national and international legal frameworks.

Highlights of the event were presentations delivered by UNODC and Federal Investigation Agency officials and the interactive participation of police and community representatives. Mr. Ali Ahmed, Assistant Director FIA for Gilgit, presented the latest trends as well as the process of how the FIA investigates and prosecutes TIP and SOM cases. During his presentation, he highlighted the importance of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the way it will potentially increase TIP and SOM cases. He said, "CPEC anticipates playing an important role in revitalizing trade activities at both national and regional levels for Pakistan. However, these activities always bring some challenges, including drug trafficking, human trafficking and migrant smuggling." It was also highlighted by FIA representatives that FIA is the lead agency for human trafficking and migrant smuggling and has local representation in Gilgit Baltistan to Gwadar.

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP Awareness

Speaking about the awareness raising, Mr. Ehsan Gilani from UNODC said, "These forums kick off an important public dialogue between the local community and the police. There is no doubt that sessions like these play a vital role in helping to raise awareness on how to prevent TIP and SOM." He went on to explain that much more needs to be done in terms of raising awareness amongst a broader section of society, including local communities, policy makers, local government representatives and the media. 

During his session, UNODC consultant Mr. Asif Jah presented the findings of an assessment carried out by UNODC in Gilgit Baltistan earlier this year. The assessment suggested that no awareness-raising campaign on human trafficking and migrant smuggling has ever taken place in this area of Pakistan and that the only source of information on these topics is the news. During the session, community representatives suggested that a campaign should be launched in the region. They suggested that such a public awarness-raising campaign should include local meetings, banners, posters, pamphlets on TIP and SOM, as well as public service annoucements (PSAs) on radio and televison. Responding to this, UNODC confirmed that, in collaboration with FIA and under the framework of GLO.ACT, UNODC will soon launch a compreshensive awareness-raising campaign in the area.

UNODC will continue to provide prevention training on TIP and SOM to relevant law enforcement agencies and local communities within Pakistan.

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP Awareness

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.  GLO.ACT works with the 13 countries to plan and implement strategic national counter-trafficking and counter smuggling efforts through a prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnerships approach. It supports the development of more effective responses to trafficking and smuggling, including providing assistance to victims of trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and direct support mechanisms.

 

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer

shahida.gillani@un.org 

 

For more information, please visit:

www.unodc.org/unodc/en/human-trafficking/glo-act/

Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter:  @glo_act