20,000 trafficking, domestic violence cases reported in ’18 – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Around 20,000 cases of human trafficking and domestic violence occurred in the country last year and 92 percent of cases related to women and girls, experts highlighted in a seminar held here on Tuesday.

The seminar was informed that women and girls were disproportionately affected by the problem of trafficking in persons, and global estimates indicated that women and girls constituted up to 80 percent of people trafficked worldwide and More than 60 percent of trafficked people belonged to Asia.

The seminar entitled "Together to combat trafficking in women and girls" was organized by UN Women Pakistan, in collaboration with the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the Kashf Foundation.

Women and girls make up 92 percent of the victims, said the seminar

A representative of the Federal Research Agency (FIA) informed seminar participants that Pakistani women were not only being trafficked from the poverty-stricken areas of southern Punjab and Balochistan, but also from main cities like Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad.

He said that recently some young Pakistanis were also trafficked to China on the pretext of getting married.

The experts were of the opinion that the issue was of immense importance and, therefore, it was necessary to address it at all levels, including through the awareness of the masses.

Jamshed Kazi, Representative in the country of UN Women Pakistan, said that Pakistan had prioritized the protection of women's rights as human rights. He said that strategies had been developed to combat violence against women, but that more challenges had to be faced.

“One of these challenges is the trafficking of women and girls, which rarely receives the attention it deserves. To successfully address this serious problem, we must work to change social norms and behavior in a transformative way, ”he said.

He said that to raise awareness among the masses about this problem, one of those initiatives was a series of television drama about the trafficking of women and girls that was recently shown on a television channel.

Speakers, including officials, diplomats, representatives of civil society and the media, highlighted the difficulties they were encountering in determining the exact number of girls and women trafficked in the country for domestic work, forced marriage or sexual exploitation, etc.

However, they said, available data indicated that traffickers were not always strangers, but that they could be family, friends or acquaintances.

"Victims of trafficking are often deceived on the pretext of better employment, marriages, better economic prospects or simply kidnapped outside their homes or public places for this purpose," they said.

The age of trafficked women and girls ranged from two years to 50 years, the seminar was reported.

Speakers also stressed that these crimes should be controlled to advance the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by Pakistan.

The seminar comprised two discussion panels. The first discussion was on the topic "Trafficking in women and girls in Pakistan: a discussion on the subject, the legislative framework and what is being done to address it."

The panelists of this session were Khawar Mumtaz, President of the National Commission for the Status of Women; Dr. Riffat Sardar, President of the Commission on the Status of Women of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP); Riaz Janjua, of the Circle against Trafficking in Persons of the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), and Maliha Zia Lari, lawyer and human rights activist of the Legal Aid Society, Karachi.

The experts during the discussion pointed out that survivors of human trafficking needed protection, help and support, access to remedies and a safe return and a reintegration into their communities with dignity and respect. Participants said law enforcement agencies and other service providers should be prepared and able to respond adequately to the problem and support survivors and work in border communities to mitigate the impact of these crimes.

The second round table focused on "Forming mentalities through the media."

The panelists for this discussion were Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director of the Kashf Foundation; Moneeza Hashmi, television personality and media; Amina Mufti, playwright; and Saman Ahsan, Portfolio Manager, Governance, Human Rights and End Violence Against Women, UN Women Pakistan. TV presenter Tauseeq Haider was moderator.

The participants in the discussion agreed that the drama series was an important medium that could progressively change the mentality towards the problem.

Published on Dawn, August 28, 2019

Source: https://www.dawn.com/news/1502018/20000-trafficking-domestic-violence-cases-reported-in-18


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