Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants laws 2018

After being many years in the making, the parliament of Pakistan finally passed "The Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act, 2018" and "The Prevention of Smuggling of Migrants Acts, 2018" in the weeks preceding its dissolution on 31 st May, 2018. These laws safeguard the rights of victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants, on the one hand, and empower the law enforcement agencies of Pakistan to effectively prosecute the organized gangs perpetuating and benefitting from these crimes, on the other. 

The two laws, drafted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) with the assistance of UNODC, are in-line with international standards and are based on United Nations model laws on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). These laws impose long imprisonment terms and substantial fines for traffickers, smugglers and their accomplices. One of the most important aspects of "The Prevention of Smuggling of Migrants Act, 2018" is the non-criminalization of smuggled migrants which shows the commitment of the Government of Pakistan to ensure the protection of human rights of victims trapped by unscrupulous migrant smugglers.

Since 2011, UNODC Country Office Pakistan, under its country programme framework, has provided extensive technical assistance and advocacy support to FIA, as well as to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Interior, in developing much-needed legal instruments to prevent and combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

As part of these efforts over the years, UNODC Pakistan organized multiple workshops and seminars to alert criminal justice practitioners to the existing gaps and legal limitations which made it impossible to fully address the issues of TIP and SOM in the country. In addition to these efforts, UNODC Pakistan undertook extensive advocacy work by regularly engaging Senators and members of National Assembly to seek their support in highlighting this issue at the national level.

UNODC Country Office in Pakistan would like to felicitate the Government of Pakistan, the Ministry of Interior and the Federal Investigation Agency on achieving this milestone. UNODC would especially like to acknowledge and congratulate Director General, FIA, Mr. Bashir Memon and Director Immigration, FIA, Mr. Tariq Malik for drafting the new laws in conformity with the UN and international standards and ensuring their passage in a short time by providing effective and committed leadership throughout the complicated and sensitive legislative process. UNODC believes that these powerful new laws will strengthen the hands of FIA and police in preventing and prosecuting the crimes of organized criminal groups of traffickers and smugglers who put the lives, freedom, wellbeing and dignity of countless human beings at risk every year. 

Encouraged by the unqualified success of the support provided to FIA and other stakeholders during the drafting, consideration and passage of these milestone laws, UNODC will continue its advocacy of and technical support for the effective enforcement and implementation of the SOM and TIP laws.  The UNODC Country office would also advocate at the relevant forums of the Government of Pakistan the benefits of signing the "Protocols against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air" as well as the "Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons" will bring to Pakistan. 

UNODC remains committed, within the limits of its mandate, to the Government of Pakistan and other relevant stakeholders, to provide all necessary support required to ensure that organized criminal networks are dismantled and that traffickers and migrant smugglers are brought to justice. 

UNODC Country Office Pakistan work under human trafficking and migrant Smuggling (HTMS) is made possible with the contributions of partners such as Australia, USA and EU. UNODC COPAK would like to thank its partners for their financial support in this whole process.



For Further Information, please contact:

Ms Shahida Gillani

Programme Officer - Human Trafficking Migrants Smuggling

Tel: +92-51-2601469