Women trafficking

Across the country, scores of women are abducted each year

March 13, 2022


A recent report released by the HRCP paints a grim picture of women trafficking in the country. The report identifies Pakistan as a source, transit and destination for human trafficking, which indicates the danger women, particularly economically vulnerable ones, find themselves in. Across the country, scores of women are abducted each year. Unfortunately, little priority is accorded to the issue, which has paved the way for the trafficking networks to thrive and coerce women into sex trafficking, child labour, bonded labour, forced begging and forced marriage.

Last year, the government launched a comprehensive National Action Plan to combat human trafficking, but little progress has been made. The FIA finds itself strained with minimal resources and capacity because of which it has remained unable to achieve the targets of the plan. Lack of cohesion among the various law enforcement agencies, absence of reliable data on trafficking, and poor implementation of anti-trafficking laws have further impeded the process of tackling the problem effectively. The government’s lacklustre attitude towards the issue is worrisome because nearly half of the population of Pakistan constitutes women of which a large proportion is threatened by traffickers. Even women that have been retrieved from trafficking networks face the risk of re-victimisation due to a lack of protection and general awareness amongst society.

Women trafficking cannot be resolved in isolation; people across the country should be able to report suspicious activity or trafficking victims to law enforcers through hotline services. Once retrieved, the victims must receive long-term protection and smooth re-integration into society. The high rate of women trafficking reinforces the argument that Pakistan is lagging in the provision of women’s rights and ensuring their safety, which has continuously hindered women across the country. The federal government must take the lead in allocating sufficient resources for implementation of the anti-trafficking regulations and improving coordination among law enforcement agencies.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2022.

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