UNODC organizes regional conference on human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Pakistan


Islamabad, Pakistan - 24 October 2017 - Since 2014, UNODC has been organizing regional conferences, inviting relevant countries to present on international best practices for improving border control mechanisms as well as on regional cooperation for trafficking in persons (TIP) investigations, prosecutions and the protection of victims. As a follow-up to the 2016 regional conference, UNODC organized another regional conference on TIP and the smuggling of migrants (SOM) on 24-25 October 2017. Participating countries included Afghanistan, Austria, Bahrain, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Thailand, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

The objectives of the conference were in line with a set of recommendation agreed by all participating countries of the previous conference. The objectives were:

  • To further strengthen law enforcement cooperation in the region by bringing together officials to discuss emerging trends and patterns of human trafficking and migrant smuggling;
  • To share and exchange information concerning best practices and emerging national trends;
  • To present best practices for improving border security and building cooperative relationships with respect to investigations, prosecutions and protection of victims; and
  • To enable participants to network with the relevant international experts.

During the opening session of the conference, Mr. Cesar Guedes, Country Representative UNODC Pakistan said, "Human trafficking and migrants smuggling are a stain on our collective conscience and a terrible tragedy proliferating under our very eyes. UNODC will take every possible step to assist member states towards eliminating this modern day evil."

Federal Minister of Interior, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, in his remarks said, "Human trafficking and migrant smuggling can be identified by push and pull factors. Under the present government Pakistan's economy has vastly improved and the environment has been ideal for every citizen to lead a free and peaceful life."

A message was delivered on behalf of H.E. the Ambassador of the United States by Mr. Leon Waskin, Coordinator for Economic and Development Assistance. In his message he said, "Success will require partnerships among governments, judiciaries, civil societies, business communities, and the public. These partnerships aim to strengthen our collective abilities. The goal is not only to identify and investigate trafficking crimes but to protect and assist victims and to increase awareness of the risks, consequences and horrors of human trafficking."

A message was also delivered on behalf of H.E. the High Commissioner of Australia. The message stated that "the scourges of human trafficking, people smuggling and modern slavery must be addressed through international cooperation coupled with effective domestic policies and, where possible, the involvement of the private sector. The Bali Process Government and Business Forum is an example of an innovative approach to modern slavery that brings these threads together. I commend the Government of Pakistan and UNODC for taking the initiative to host this important conference."

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Committee of Senate on Defense and CPEC, in his address said, "Human trafficking and migrant smuggling can only be tackled in holistic manner by underpinning our efforts with effective legislation." He added that "parliamentarians who have been vested with the authority as law makers shoulder a great responsibility to ensure that they provide the leadership by enacting appropriate laws to drive the state's machinery towards prevention and effective control of social malignant factors that impact upon security, safety and economic well-being of the nation."

Highlighting achievements of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), its Director General Mr. Bashir Ahmed explained that Pakistan, as an important and active member of the United Nations, is conscious of its international obligations and has taken a number of measures encapsulating FIA's Strategic Framework to Combat Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling (2016-2020).

During the second half of the meeting Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan and Frontex (the European border and coast guard agency) delivered presentations on emerging trends of irregular migration and the tools available to member states for enhancing information sharing in line with the international best practices.

In closing remarks His Excellency Mr. Jean-François Cautain, Ambassador of the European Union in Pakistan, said, "To tackle this human tragedy and new form of slavery, the key challenge is the need for more cross-border cooperation to find an international coordinated and effective response to the network characteristics of the phenomena of trafficking and smuggling."

Apart from discussing the progress made on agreed recommendations of previous conferences, participants also worked on a roadmap for future action. The 2014/2015 Federal Investigation Agency annual reports on human trafficking and migrant smuggling along with UNODC's recent report on "Smuggling of Migrants from Pakistan: Reasons, Routes and Risks" were launched at the event.

The event was made possible thanks to the generous contributions by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection of the Government of Australia, the European Union under GLO.ACT and US State Department under Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP).

The Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT) is a four-year (2015-2019), €11 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The project is being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). GLO.ACT aims to provide assistance to governmental authorities and civil society organizations across 13 strategically selected countries: Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Mali, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine.


External links:

TNN: UNODC Holds Regional Conference Human Trafficking, Migrant Smuggling in Pakistan

Daily Times: UNODC holds regional conference on migrants

APP: Ahsan Iqbal address to Regional Conference on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling 


Workshop Report:

Regional Conference on Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Report


For more information, please contact:

Ms. Shahida Gilani

Programme Officer Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling


Twitter:  @glo_act