PESHAWAR: As human trafficking becomes the most profitable industry with around one million persons being trafficked across the world annually, a daylong session held in Peshawar on Wednesday stressed upon sensitising general public and enforcing strict laws as the federal investigation agency (FIA) lags in tackling the issue.
Acting as a transit state for human trafficking for those heading to European Countries via Iran-Turkey and Greece, for Pakistan the FIA is the frontline for defence. Yet the laws cause more complications than ease. The speakers, however, believe the shortcomings including lack of training and intelligence deters the agency from curbing human trafficking and smuggling.
Stressing on the need to enhance FIA’s capacity, the participants called for promulgating strict laws to ensure that the apprehended do not get away.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of anti-human trafficking conference, former member national assembly Nafeesa Khattak said Pakistan made up to the 13th largest group trying to cross the Meditation with 3138 managed to reach Italy in 2017 alone. She added that many of them ended up with forced labour.
The seminar,titled ‘A Whole Village Approach’ was organised to create a forum for pursuing legislative improvements, prosecution and victim protection related to Trafficking in Persons (TIP).
Khattak highlighted that the Smuggling of Migrant Bill 2018 was drafted but could not be passed. “The 18th Constitutional amendment has, to some extend, confused the matter since there was no coordination between federal and provincial forces.”
Through bribes, the people can easily exit the country by foot, head to Greece via Iran and Turkey, she added. Khattak also called for building capacity to tackle the issue.
Meanwhile, officials from the United States Consulate Peshawar stated that around 600,000 to 800,000 people were trafficked globally each year with at least 14,000 to 17,00 heading to the US. Out of these, 33 per cent were women who were forced into commercial sex. 23 per cent of the females are under the age of 23.
“43 per cent are trafficked from East Asia and the Pacific where 29 per cent are trafficked from Europe and Eurasia,” U.S official Mathew Kelly informed adding that public awareness and training, collaboration at all levels; protection of the victim and prosecution could help overcome the TIP.
“The US wants to work with Pakistan to overcome trafficking in persons’ a statement issued from the US consulate peshawar quoted acting American Consul general in Peshawar Will Makaneole as saying. “By uniting, we can all form a seamless web to prevent trafficking, protect victims and prosecute traffickers,” Makaneole said. People from non-government organizations and legal fraternity besides educationists also spoke on the occasion.