Best practice in fighting human trafficking and migrant smuggling: build strong relationships between government agencies and local communities

 

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP AwarenessHunza, Pakistan - 2 May 2018 - Under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants ( GLO.ACT), from 28-30 April 2018 UNODC in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency ( FIA) organized awareness-raising sessions on the phenomenon of trafficking in persons (TIP) and the smuggling of migrants (SOM) and how it is everyone's responsibility to prevent these crimes from happening. The first session was attended by 25 police officers, and over 50 representatives from academia, the media and civil society organizations attended the second session.

The 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 smuggled or trafficked and what the impact of being trafficked may have on a victim. The sessions focused on:

  1. Increasing awareness among participants, particularly in areas where the tendency of migration is higher;
  2. Increasing awareness among law enforcement agencies about TIP issues and the role they can play;
  3. Highlighting the role of civil society organizations in raising additional awareness about TIP amongst local populations; and
  4. Building strong relationships between the local community and law enforcement officials.

GLO.ACT Pakistan TIP AwarenessDuring the sessions, presentations were delivered by UNODC and the FIA. The presentations mostly covered topics such as the definitions of TIP and SOM, the difference between TIP and SOM, the role the police play in addressing these crimes and the role of the FIA plays with regards to combatting these crimes.

In his presentation to the community representatives, Mr. Ehsan Gilani from UNODC said, "Hunza being nearest to the Chinese border is at risk for prospective human trafficking and migrant smuggling attempts. There is an emerging route that goes from China to Russia and then to Europe. Since the law enforcement agencies are focusing on Baluchistan and Punjab, this new route is swiftly becoming popular."

Highlighting the role of education, Mr. Gilani explained, "The literacy rate is very high in Hunza with close to 95% of the population being literate". He went on to explain that this can be an advantage when rolling out an awareness-raising campaign amongst the local population. During the sessions, participants indicated that the region of Gilgit Baltistan, including Hunza, is 'opening up' and that these days there is a high influx of local tourists. They also pointed out that people from other areas of Pakistan are buying property in the region in order to tap into the potential of the area due to the upcoming China Pakistan Economic Corridor project. Concerns were raised about the possibility of this attracting criminal activity to the area, including TIP and SOM. Participants were keen to see some prevention work on these issues, with a focus on parents of youth that might be keen to study or work in other parts of the country where they could become vulnerable to being smuggled or trafficked.

Another highlight of the event was the presentation by Mr. Ali Ahmed, who is the Assistant Director of FIA. He explained role of FIA in curbing TIP and SOM along with the importance of continually working on achieving good coordination between the police, the community and FIA. After his presentation Mr. Ahmed added, "It is a great initiative to involve the community directly. Armed with this knowledge, we are now in a much better position to fight these criminals." He explained that there are many young and vulnerable students keen to study abroad who end up being exploited by migrant smugglers. "We need to specifically focus on the young and vulnerable so that they don't fall prey to smugglers and traffickers," he stated.

The session ended with a presentation by UNODC consultant Mr. Asif Jah who shared the findings of a UNODC assessment conducted recently in the area. The training concluded with a thank you note from UNODC and FIA to the participants.

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