Engaging youth in awareness raising about human trafficking and migrant smuggling

Islamabad, Pakistan 5 March 2019 - UNODC, under the framework of  GLO.ACT (The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants) and in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), organized an essay competition at Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University. Students had to write an essay on "The menace of human trafficking and migrants smuggling." More than 100 students submitted essays and the jury selected the top 20 entries to receive awards.

This competition is part of a nationwide awareness campaign supported by GLO.ACT that began during the last quarter of 2018. The campaign is being rolled out at the national level and includes the distribution of 500,000 information leaflets on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM), the display of 1200 information banners in key districts, the setting up of social media platforms that currently reach over 1.4 million users as well as public service messages on radio and the sending out of 500,000 SMS messages in high risk areas to raise awareness about the dangers of TIP and SOM. The aim of the campaign is to increase awareness on the risks, issues and challenges associated with human trafficking and migrant smuggling, to create community-led efforts in combatting these crimes as well as to launch a national discourse on the topic, ultimately leading to further engagement of key policy makers.

During the award ceremony, the Director of Immigration of the FIA, Mr. Nasir Mahmood Satti said, "UNODC and the FIA think that engaging youth in this discussion is very important if we want to change ourselves. It is people like you who will build this country and will take it forward to future in a sustainable manner."

TIP within Pakistan accounts for a large number of people being forced into bonded labor at brick kilns, in agriculture, the carpet industry and majority of the victims are women and children. Criminal networks have become increasingly good at luring vulnerable people into being exploited. More and more efforts are needed to help prevent TIP and SOM. Thus, UNODC is keen to encourage Youth to play its vital role in helping to raise awareness and to prevent TIP and SOM.

UNODC law enforcement expert, Mr. Erwin Versteeg said, "An average 20 million people fall victim to trafficking in persons every year." He added "As per UNODC Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018, in South Asia 27% of trafficked victims are young girls and 4% are boys. Globally girls constitute 23% of the overall figure while 7% are boys. 50% of the overall victims of trafficking are for sexual exploitation, 49% for forced labour.

Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Khan, Vice Chancellor, Shifa Tameer-E- Millat University affirmed his commitment to the government of Pakistan and said, " We should all join hands for to raise the awareness about these crimes with public." He added "by raising the awareness level of youth we can ensure that instances of abuse and exploitation are reported to relevant authorities and assistance is extended to vulnerable people. Our students are committed and stand united with the government of Pakistan and the UNODC."

The event was moderated by Mr. Asif Jah who is the lead consultant for public awareness at UNODC COPAK. A presentation on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants was jointly delivered by Ms. Shahida Gillani, National Programme Officer and Mr. Ehsan Gilani, Senior Programme Associate to make the students aware regarding the menace of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

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, and Ukraine. 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.


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For more information about GLO.ACT, please contact:

Ms. Shahida Gilani, Programme Officer Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling

Email: Shahida.gillani@unodc.org


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