The UNODC and FIA stand committed to curb human trafficking and migrant smuggling in extended partnership with police and civil society

Islamabad, 25 November 2015 - Two sessions were organised by the UNODC in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Islamabad, for the purposes of sensitising the police and increasing awareness on issues related to human trafficking and migrant smuggling (HTMS) amongst civil society. The sessions were organised by the Research and Analysis Centre (RAC), a joint flagship venture between the UNODC and FIA. 28 police officials from twin cities along with 25 civil society representatives were present at the sessions. This sensitisation session for the police aimed to educate officers on the issue of trafficking, particularly its adverse impact on human beings, prevention as well as eradicating human trafficking. 

The FIA is the lead agency to control human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Pakistan. The role of the agency is immigration control including human smuggling and external human trafficking. In cases of internal human trafficking, police authorities are responsible for apprehending illegal migrants, maintaining law and order in informal settlements of illegal migrant communities, taking internal human traffickers into custody and registering cases under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

Experts from the FIA, UNODC and civil society delivered their presentations, which included information on some of the latest trends. The event was chaired by Mr. Wajid Zia, Additional Director General of Immigration from the FIA, who in his opening remarks  stressed that the role of the police is very important in functional and operational orbs, while the role of civil society is vital in preemption through awareness and later in the rehabilitation process, within the sphere of HTMS. Ms. Shahida Gillani, Programme Officer of the UNODC, suggested that a much needed proactive approach to this issue can only be adopted with an aggressive awareness campaign at all tiers of the social strata (i.e. community, grassroots level, opinion makers, local bodies' representatives, journalists, etc.). 

Mr. Nasir Khan from the FIA assured that his agency will continue to organise these sensitisation and awareness sessions to ensure that  the relevant technical aspects of HTMS are covered properly and that the role of the FIA is highlighted with achievements, which will ensure the adoption of a proactive stance towards HTMS. Representatives from civil society suggested that organising these sessions  in educational institutions would be an effective way to address young people. 

Both sessions were well attended, and all attendees participated actively with valuable suggestions and inputs. It was concluded that the efficacy of these interactions proved very positive and brought real value towards desired ends. The Director of Immigration, Mr. Kareem also attended and distributed the certificates in the community awareness session. With this initiative taken, both the UNODC and FIA are now poised to collaboratively organise such sessions in districts/localities most effected by HTMS in the near future.