How training on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants will make difference in the province of Balochistan

Quetta, 17 May 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 workshop on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrant (SOM) in Quetta, the provincial capital of Balochistan. The main aim of the training was 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.

It was decided to hold the sessions in Quetta because criminal networks use Balochistan as the most common exist from Pakistan to smuggle migrants into Iran and Turkey, followed by Greece and other European destinations. According to the FIA, there is a strong correlation between TIP and SOM. In Pakistan, the FIA has found that there are many instances where an internally trafficked person ends up being smuggled into another country for further exploitation. Since it is the police that are mandated, under the Pakistani Penal Code, to deal with internal TIP issues, close coordination is required between the FIA and the police. 

Mr. Jawad Hussein, Assistant Director for the FIA in Balochistan, said during his opening remarks that these sessions form part of a series of awareness raising workshops that are currently being rolled out for police and civil society in areas particularly affected by TIP and SOM. This time, 9 police officers, 5 FIA officers and 55 representatives from the local community, the media, academia and civil society participated. Ms. Sadaf Amjad, Assistant Professor from the Balochistan University applauded the efforts of UNODC and the FIA for providing a forum that encouraged the participation of such a broad segment of society. She said that: "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." She also explained that there are many young and vulnerable students, keen to study aboard, that end up finding themselves being exploited by migrant smugglers. 

During the training, Mr. Ehsan Gilani, UNODC Senior National Researcher stressed the need for greater coordination amongst relevant stakeholders. He said that local law enforcement representatives for the areas as well as civil society need to help raise awareness about the scale of the problem and its negative impacts on its victims. He went on to explain that provincial police needs to collaborate with the FIA, since it is the police that has to respond to internal TIP issues. He concluded by saying that he believed that "with better coordination and information sharing, TIP and SOM cases can be reduced."

Mr. Liaqat Banori, Chairman of the NGO called SHARP and a renowned Lawyer of Islamabad High Court, highlighted the importance of being able to apply the correct and relevant sections of the Pakistani Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to TIP and SOM cases. He said that most of the time, prosecutors are unable to identify the relevant sections of the Pakistani Penal Code. He explained that since there are legal provisions that criminalize TIP under various different Acts and Ordinances, adequate knowledge of these is required by prosecutors. He stressed that only the "application of appropriate sections will ensure proper prosecution". He further added that the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO), promulgated in the year 2002, changed the whole picture with regards to TIP and SOM cases. At that time, the Ordinance was a comprehensive legislation designed to ensure that Pakistan meets its obligations under various international treaties on TIP. However, it has now become apparent that revisions to the Ordinance are required to be able to better differentiate between TIP and SOM. 

Concluding the workshop, Mr. Gilani reiterated the need for far greater coordination amongst key stakeholders and once again stressed the vital role civil society plays in the fight against TIP and SOM.