Strengthening the Fight Against Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling: UNODC-FIA Training Empowers Balochistan Levies

22 July 2023, Quetta, Balochistan - In a resolute step towards combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Pakistan, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) jointly conducted a series of three training workshops exclusively for Balochistan Levies personnel (first responders on the Balochistan’s border). The training workshops were held on 12-13, 14-15 and 18-19 July 2023 in Quetta training 24, 23 and 25 officials respectively. Under the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, the workshops aimed to enhance the knowledge and skills of law enforcement officers in dealing with these heinous crimes, focusing on victim protection and assistance. 

Taking place in Quetta, the workshops were funded by The European Union under the GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East Initiative, demonstrating the international community's commitment to fighting transnational crimes and supporting efforts to protect vulnerable individuals. The primary objective was to empower relevant stakeholders in Pakistan to identify, screen, and refer victims effectively.

The workshops drew enthusiastic participation from male members of the Balochistan Levies Force, including Investigation Officers (IOs), Risaldars, Naib Risaldars, and Daffedars. The participants brought diverse educational backgrounds, ranging from bachelor's to master's degrees, making the training environment rich with varied perspectives.

Waqar Haidar Awan, UNODC trainer, warmly welcomed the participants and facilitated the workshops' organization, including registration and pre-training assessments. Qasim Mandokhel, an experienced legal practitioner, set the tone by introducing the workshops' objectives and clarifying the distinction between human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Throughout the training sessions, respected trainers delved into various aspects of human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Mr. Mandokhel provided detailed explanations on relevant laws and rules, differentiating between various types of trafficking, and exploring underlying causes. Jawad Hussain, Assistant Director FIA, emphasized a victim-centered approach to identification, trauma understanding, and best practices for victim interviews. Shala Ashraf, one of the trainers, highlighted the vulnerabilities of victims, particularly families and children, while emphasizing the importance of referral systems and available resources for victim support, including legal aid, shelter, medical services, and psycho-social assistance.

The workshops were designed with an interactive and collaborative approach, incorporating question-and-answer sessions that allowed participants to seek clarifications and share their experiences. Mock exercises further enhanced the participants' understanding of victim identification and screening through effective questioning techniques.

At the conclusion of each training workshop, a comprehensive post-assessment was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of the training and assess the knowledge and skills acquired by the trainees. The distribution of certificates marked a moment of pride and accomplishment for the participants, symbolizing their commitment to combatting these heinous crimes and acknowledging their crucial role as stakeholders in safeguarding vulnerable individuals.

The impact of the workshops extends beyond the participants themselves. Armed with enhanced knowledge and skills, they now act as agents of change, disseminating their learning and best practices within their respective organizations and communities, creating a ripple effect in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Pakistan.

The series of three training workshops was a significant step toward improving the capacity of relevant stakeholders in combatting human trafficking and migrant smuggling. It empowered participants with the knowledge and skills necessary to protect and support victims effectively, furthering the initiative's goal of creating a safer environment for vulnerable individuals affected by these crimes in Pakistan.

The collaborative efforts of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) were instrumental in making this endeavor a success, reaffirming their commitment to combatting human trafficking and migrant smuggling and reinforcing the spirit of cooperation in the pursuit of justice and human rights.

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.



For more information, please contact:

Shahida Gillani, National Project Officer


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