Scourge of human trafficking

Estimates suggest that between 80,000 and 100,000 Pakistanis cross international borders illegally each year

Editorial June 10, 2024


The recent arrest of human rights activist Sarim Burney by FIA in Karachi has thrust the issue of human trafficking in Pakistan back into the spotlight. Burney and his associates are accused of illegal child adoptions, with allegations of using fraudulent documents to falsely declare three baby girls as orphans. While Burney maintains his innocence and will remain innocent until proven guilty, the broader issue of human trafficking in the country should not be ignored. This silent crisis ensnares countless innocent women and children, exposing the dark underbelly of a nation struggling with systemic governmental failures.

Estimates suggest that between 80,000 and 100,000 Pakistanis cross international borders illegally each year, including those smuggled and trafficked. Just last week, the FIA’s Anti-Human Trafficking Circle in Rawalpindi arrested six individuals involved in extorting money from citizens with promises of jobs abroad. Such arrests and countless prior incidents reveal the extent to which trafficking syndicates have embedded themselves within the country’s landscape. These networks operate through well-organised schemes, utilising routes that lead to Iran via the Taftan border in Balochistan or the southern district of Kech, as well as other sea routes from Gwadar – well-known corridors synonymous with suffering and exploitation. Perhaps, the biggest challenge lies in traffickers exploiting systemic weaknesses to operate with relative impunity, often enjoying collusion with authorities and influential figures. Deplorable socio-economic factors such as poverty, corruption, illiteracy and insufficient law enforcement further fuel the fire.

The FIA’s recent efforts, while commendable, must not be sporadic. Sustained and strategic action is necessary to dismantle the entrenched networks of human trafficking. This requires continuous monitoring and targeted operations to break the operational backbone of these networks. A long-term commitment to the cause can ensure efforts are part of a comprehensive strategy to eradicate human trafficking from its roots.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 10th, 2024.

Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.



Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ