UNODC organizes its second Public Private Partnership Conference on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling

17 April 2019, Islamabad - The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC),with the support of the United States Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (USJ/TIP), has organized its second Public-Private Partnership Conference on Trafficking in Persons. The conference has been arranged in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan.

The UNODC Pakistan Office has been assisting the Government of Pakistan for over 35 years with the objective of assistance in overcoming common challenges and in meeting international obligations. The aim of the conference is to enhance collaboration among key government stakeholders and the private sector which includes civil society, non-governmental      organizations, and private corporations.

It is a matter of fact that women and children in Pakistan are trafficked for sexual exploitation, sometimes in the form of forced marriages. To help minimize trafficking in persons, UNODC and FIA have been working in close collaboration for many years. As partners both UNODC and FIA realize it is important to take all stakeholders, from both public and private sectors, onboard to fight trafficking in persons.

For this purpose, the conference was organized in Islamabad; and numerous senior government officials, law enforcement officers, members of civil society, private sector organizations, non-governmental organizations, the media, and other UN agencies were invited to participate: to recognize and collaborate with the struggle to combat trafficking in persons.

 Mr Ahmed Mukkarram, Additional Director General Immigration FIA, in his opening remarks appreciated the efforts of UNODC and the assistance provided by the US Department of State. He stated, 'It is with these efforts that the law against Trafficking in Persons has been enacted in Pakistan.' He added that 'such engagement helps improve communication and raise awareness of relevant stakeholders on the issue. It helps recognize the victims and enhances delivery of services for the protection of victims of trafficking in persons and broadens access to available protection services.' 

Mr Davor Raus, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, UNODC Vienna expressed his appreciation of the participating stakeholders. He emphasized the importance of public-private partnership and said 'Partnership between governments and the private sector in preventing and fighting all forms of trafficking in persons has become the need of the hour. It is with collective efforts that we can defeat the menace and make the world a safer place.' He added that 'UNODC looks to civil society and private sector organizations to contribute for raising awareness to prevent Trafficking in Persons.'

Mr Mufakhar Adeel, Additional Director Immigration FIA, spoke on international and national norms and practices. He briefed the participants on the Agency and its day and night work to control this crime.

Mr Naveed Ahmad Shinwari, UNODC Consultant, gave a presentation on the roles, responsibilities, and initiatives of civil society, NGOs, and the private sector in combatting trafficking in persons. He said, 'Every sector is making efforts to fight this menace, but no coordination exists between relevant stakeholders to address this issue holistically.'

 Ms Lucy Coburn, US Embassy Islamabad, delivered a presentation; while Ms Samantha Novick and Ms Andrea Balint, US State Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, participated in the conference.

Several participants expressed their resolve to continue collaboration with public partners: to enhance understanding of human trafficking and of the role of the private sector.

 Moving towards a successful conclusion of the conference, UNODC and FIA look forward to addressing the prevention of trafficking in persons in a collaborative way, and to facilitating stakeholders to address gaps in policy and its implementation. The conference itself was made possible by financial support from the US Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.