Coordination between the Police, FIA and Civil Society is crucial in Hazara Division - says FIA

Abbotabad, 26 May 2016 - The Federal Investigation Agency, in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, is conducting a series of sensitisation workshops for police and civil society in high concentration areas. Similar workshops have already been conducted in Islamabad, Lahore and Gujranwala with the aim to bring closer coordination amongst the most important segments of society.  Abbottabad, with its large population of Afghan refugees from nearby camps in Haripur District, is of added importance in the Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (HTMS) context. According to police officials, this illegal and detrimental industry (HTMS) has deeply affected the Afghan refugee community. Ms. Ammara Khattak chaired the workshop in Abbottabad.

Mr Imran Shahid, the Additional Director of the FIA in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, appreciated the UNODC's efforts and stressed the need for sensitisation and coordination amongst the police and FIA. He said that multiple ends motivate human trafficking, including organ removal and sexual exploitation. He added, that domestically human trafficking accounts for 10 million people every year, which are exploited within the industries of agriculture and carpet making. Women and children comprise the majority of these internally trafficked people.

The FIA's Assistant Legal Director, Mr Tahir Khan stressed on the importance of proper usage of sections and articles from Pakistani laws. He said that before 2002 there was no specific law for human trafficking and migrant smuggling. There was the Emigration Ordinance of 1979 and different other sections including 340 and 365 of the Pakistan Penal Code, which were being used. After the Passing of PACHTO 2002, the situation has changed. According to Mr Tahir Khan, PACHTO 2002 is a comprehensive, non-compoundable and non cognisable ordinance, which not only defines victims but also sets a guideline for the protection of victims.  For the police, Mr Khan stressed the need for proper registration and prosecution of the cases.

Highlighting the police's role, Mr Naeem Khan, In-charge of the FIA Abbottabad Office, said that the police play an extremely important role in both the prevention and control of human trafficking, since taking internal human traffickers into custody and registering cases under the Pakistan Penal Code falls directly within their jurisdiction. Responding to a query, he stressed police officials should approach the FIA Office for any assistance in cases related to Afghans involved in external human trafficking.

Major Amir Sajjad from UNODC gave a brief presentation on latest trends of HTMS in both sessions of Police and Civil Society representatives. He said that FIA has a continuous long term cooperation with UNODC country office in Pakistan, who is assisting in different avenues. Research and Analysis Center is one of the joint ventures of UNODC and FIA, where research is being carried out to identify gaps and provision of durable solutions. A victim reception and rehabilitation center is being built for FIA at Taftan, along with other interventions under pipeline which will benefit the country in long run.

Both sessions were well attended with useful discussions, and proved very productive in forging a liaison against HTMS amongst the FIA, police and concerned segments of civil society.