Why raising awareness about human trafficking and migrant smuggling matters

                          

Peshawar, 17 April 2017 - Under the EU funded GLO.ACT (Global Action to Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrant) project, the Federal Investigation Agency ( FIA) in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), conducted a two day police and community awareness training on human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Peshawar.

Over the last three decades Peshawar, the capital of the Pakistani province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has dealt with a large influx of Afghan refugees and the Jalozai refugee camp is also in close proximity. Taking this into account, the organisers felt that raising awareness about Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) is of particular importance here.

The training, chaired by the Additional Director of the FIA Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Zone, Mr. Imran Shahid, forms part of a series of awareness raising workshops that will be rolled out for police and civil society in areas particularly affected by these two crimes. This time, 25 police officials and 25 civil society representatives took part in the training. The main aim of the training series is to provide education on the crimes of TIP and SOM, particularly the adverse impact on victims and prevention and protection measures that should be in place.

Experts from the FIA, UNODC and civil society delivered the session that included the sharing of the latest global, regional and national trends on TIP and SOM. In addition, the experts highlighted the importance of applying the correct sections and articles under Pakistani law. The participants noted with interest that prior to 2002 there were no specific laws addressing TIP or SOM. Experts pointed out that the Emigration Ordinance of 1979 and other sections, including 340 and 365 of the Pakistani Penal Code, were used up until then. In 2002, the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO) was promulgated. The Ordinance is a comprehensive law designed to meet Pakistan's obligations under various international treaties on TIP. The Ordinance contains a comprehensive definition of "human trafficking" as well as a definition of "coercion" and prohibits human trafficking for any reason whatsoever, including labour, entertainment or prostitution.

Concluding the event, Mr. Shahid said that he appreciated the efforts of UNODC and stressed the need for greater coordination between the police and the FIA. He also pointed out that criminal networks had become increasingly good at luring vulnerable people into being exploited and that much more needed to be done in terms of awareness raising to help prevent TIP and SOM. He noted that UNODC, in coordination with the FIA, had drafted two new laws currently awaiting Senate approval on TIP and SOM. He went on to explain that human trafficking within Pakistan accounts, on an annual basis, for millions of people being forced into bonded labor at brick kilns, in agriculture, the carpet industry and was keen to stress that the majority of the victims are women and children. Highlighting the role of civil society, Mr. Shahid concluded by saying that "civil society plays a vital role in helping to raise awareness to prevent TIP and SOM as well as in the rehabilitation process. 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".

 

For more information about GLO.ACT read more here.

For more information about UNODC Pakistan please read more here.