Evidence-based awareness raising on Human Trafficking: UNODC holds sessions with local communities and police in Gilgit and Hunza

15 August 2022, Gilgit-Baltistan Province, Pakistan - The purpose of raising public awareness is to mobilize popular concern about the risk of falling prey to traffickers and about the social and human costs of the crime. A key aspect of any awareness raising work is that it is evidences-based and contains specific, verifiable and useful data to ensure intended effects are achieved, budgeted for and can be sustained longer term.

In Pakistan, under the framework of the GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT), UNODC held awareness sessions for community members and law enforcement from 20 to 21 July 2022 in Gilgit and 25 from 26 July 2022 in Hunza.

These sessions are part of an overall nationwide awareness campaign against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants that UNODC Country Office Pakistan launched in May 2022 in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency. To create community-led efforts, the campaign aims to increase awareness of the risks, issues, and challenges regarding human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The sessions were attended by community elders, representatives from academia, the media, civil society organizations, lawyers, the police, and representatives of the Federal Investigation Agency.

The first awareness session was organized on 20 July 2022 at Gilgit for the community members in Gilgit. Dr Athar Waheed, FIA Director of Training, chaired the session, which was attended by over 50 participants and included community elders, representatives from the educatioon sector (including school teachers, principals, and college lecturers), journalists, lawyers, academia, private sector representatives, students, tour operators, and the media. During the session, UNODC outlined the difference between human trafficking and migrant smuggling, including vital internal and external trafficking elements. A focus on relevant legislation regarding human trafficking and migrant smuggling was also included. The session concluded with a lively question-and-answer session.

The second session was organized on 21 July 2022, which focused on training the police on the basics of human trafficking and migrant smuggling and related laws. 46 police officers attended the session, including 7 female officers. Mr Waheed gave a comprehensive presentation on the relevant legislation and outlined the role of the police in combating both crimes. During this session, UNODC presented a case study, forming the basis for group exercises. Each group had to work through different aspects of the case and report to the main plenary. The group exercise results were encouraging as it confirmed that the previously shared information had been well communicated and understood.

In Hunza, a similar community session on 25 July was attended by more than 85 community members. A very engaged and proactive group, the participants were particularly interested in talking about some unreported cases of human trafficking. On 26 July 2022, 21 (3 female) officers attended another police training session that followed a similar pattern as previous police training sessions.

The awareness-raising sessions in Gilgit and Hunza also allowed UNDOC to better understand the lack of reporting of human trafficking and migrant smuggling cases over the last couple of years. Participants explained that a lack of awareness among the community and law enforcement about both crimes plays a key role. As the sessions proceeded, participants recalled unreported incidents in their areas. Law enforcement participants also spoke about the increased inflow of Afghan families and associated difficulties in identifying potential victims.

Looking ahead, the community and law enforcement training sessions will enable UNODC to ensure that larger-scale campaigns are evidence-based and allocate resources in an impactful and sustainable manner.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.

The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.


This project is funded by the European Union.

For more information, please contact:

Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer

Email: Shahida.gillani@un.org


For more information, please visit:


Email: glo.act@un.org

Twitter:  @glo_act


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