SHRC, SSDO collab to address human trafficking

Collaboration aims to address human rights issues such as trafficking in persons and bonded labourers in Sindh

Our Correspondent May 18, 2024


The Sindh Human Rights Commission (SHRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) on Friday.

The collaboration aims to address human rights issues such as trafficking in persons and bonded labourers in Sindh via capacity building, advocacy, research, and policy making.

The MoU was signed by SHRC Chairperson Iqbal Ahmed Detho and SSDO Executive Director Syed Kausar Abbas.

Speaking on the occasion, Iqbal Ahmed Detho emphasised the SHRC's role as a statutory body, noting the challenges in coordinating and implementing various acts.

He outlined the three pillars of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report that are prevention, protection, and prosecution, and highlighted the national launch of the report, Pakistan's complex structures, and the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) in Sindh.

Detho mentioned Pakistan's ratification of 27 conventions and the SHRC's GSP+ report while discussing key articles on equality and the Sindh Bonded Labour System [Abolition] Act, 2015. He also addressed the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for police and prosecution.

Present at the event, Syed Kausar Abbas shared insights into the progress of the Technology and Innovation Program during 2023-24, highlighting SSDO's efforts in leveraging technology to tackle social challenges. He stressed the importance of engaging parliamentarians on the issue of human trafficking, noting its connection to the budget.

SHRC Legal Adviser Barrister Rida Tahir, provided an overview of the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2018 and its implementation rules formulated in 2020.

She highlighted the plight of trafficking victims, predominantly women and children, who face sexual exploitation and abuse.

Tahir also discussed the Anti-Rape [Investigation and Trial] Act 2021 and the establishment of Anti-Rape Crisis Cells in Sindh, emphasising victim-centric protection mechanisms.

Sindh Home Department Deputy Secretary Naveed Arain, noted that the department conducts quarterly meetings of provincial and district committees to combat human trafficking and bonded labour.

Sindh District Public Prosecutor Muhammad Anwar Mahar reported the nomination of 28 special district prosecutors following the enactment of the TIP.

The meeting also reviewed progress on the Technology and Innovation Programme, with representatives from various departments, including Social Welfare, Sindh Child Protection Authority, Women Development Department, Prosecution, Sindh Police, FIA, and Labour & Human Resources Department.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2024.


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