U.S. Department of State 2002 Trafficking in Persons Report - Pakistan

Pakistan (Tier 2)

Pakistan is a country of origin, transit, and destination for women and children trafficked for purposes of sexual exploitation and bonded labor. Internal trafficking of women and girls from rural areas to larger cities for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor also occurs. Afghan girls and women have been trafficked from refugee camps in Pakistan to urban areas for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Pakistan is a country of origin for young boys who are kidnapped or bought and sent to work as camel jockeys in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. In many cases, Pakistani men and women go to the Middle East in search of work, only to be put into situations of coerced labor, slave-like conditions, or sexual exploitation. Pakistan serves as a destination point for women and children who are trafficked from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Central Asia for purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Women and children trafficked from East Asian countries and Bangladesh to the Middle East transit through Pakistan.

The government of Pakistan does not yet fully comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. Pakistan has statutes in its Penal Code that criminalize kidnapping, abduction, slavery, prostitution, forced labor, and importing girls for sexual exploitation. Prosecution is possible under these existing statutes, but the government is drafting new laws that would deal more effectively with trafficking and conform its legal system to international conventions that address trafficking. Although law enforcement officials have successfully investigated and arrested traffickers, severely backlogged courts and local corruption slow convictions. The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) has registered several cases against camel jockey traffickers that are pending in court. If prostitution is prosecuted under the Islamic law-oriented Hudood ordinances, victims are often reluctant to testify since, if the burden of proof is not met, the woman's testimony is tantamount to an admission of adultery. Open borders and corruption among border guards and law enforcement personnel allows trafficked women and girls to be brought into the country. The government has undertaken several initiatives to provide protection and services to victims, including sponsoring shelters in Islamabad (which offers a full panoply of services) and Karachi, and training programs for actual and potential trafficking victims. The government also supports numerous centers throughout Pakistan sheltering women and trafficking victims as they undergo legal proceedings. These women and victims have access to medical treatment, limited legal representation, and vocational training. The government provides temporary residence status to foreign trafficking victims and a lawyer on demand. However, without the advocacy of an NGO, victims may be treated as criminals and detained for illegal immigration status. In terms of prevention, the government has focused its energy in the development of a poverty alleviation strategy. The government has worked with NGOs to raise awareness of trafficking, improve literacy and promote women's legal rights. Government-run Pakistan TV has also aired a two-part trafficking and human rights documentary several times. In April 2001, the government established an interagency task force to combat trafficking in persons, charged with closing legal loopholes and improving interagency cooperation. The government has begun the process of hiring 30 female personnel who will be responsible for identifying women and children victims of trafficking at 18 border stations.

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