Operation Against Human Traffickers Intensified in Gujranwala Region: Federal Investigation Agency

Gujranwala, 10 March 2016. The Federal Investigation Agency and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Pakistan are together organizing a series of sessions for police and civil society representatives across Pakistan. These sessions are intended to raise awareness among the most important segments of society regarding the undesirable impacts of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Gujranwala region has become the hub of human trafficking across Punjab, with 36 most wanted human traffickers named in the FIA Red Book belonging to the region, stated Mr Sajid Akram, Deputy Director FIA Punjab Zone. The early arrest of these fugitive human traffickers has become a major challenge for the Agency, he added.

These traffickers have spread their well-organized  criminal network across Gujranwala, Gujarat, and Mundi Bahauddin districts. Through this infrastructure, they send innocent people abroad illegally by extorting large amounts of money from them, said Mr Masood Naseem, Deputy Director (Law) FIA Punjab, during his presentation on human trafficking and its legal aspects.

Highlighting the role of the police, Mian Muhammad Sabir, Assistant Director FIA Gujranwala, noted its importance in both prevention and control of human trafficking: since taking internal human traffickers into custody, and registering cases against them under the Pakistan Penal Code, is the responsibility of the police.

In his presentation, Major Amir described UNODC's role and collaboration with FIA, police, and other LEAs. He appreciated FIA's seeking active cooperation of Interpol and other international law enforcement agencies in ensuring the early arrest abroad of fugitive human traffickers/proclaimed offenders (POs). FIA has a continuous and long term cooperation with the UNODC Country Office in Pakistan, including the Research and Analysis Centre (RAC), a joint venture of UNODC and FIA, wherein research is being undertaken to identify gaps and provide tenable solutions.

In the community awareness session, a large number of representatives from civil society and NGOs, opinion makers, judges, legal experts, and journalists attended and actively participated. They acknowledged the efforts of UNODC, and put forward many suggestions towards the improvement of FIA's activities against human traffickers.

The event in Gujranwala proved another useful and productive step in the series of sessions being organized throughout the country to sensitize the police on HTMS and internal trafficking, and bring awareness thereon to civil society. All those attending appreciated, and stressed the need for holding more frequently, these events across Pakistan.