U.S. Department of State 2003 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 cities for purposes of sexual exploitation and labor also occurs. Pakistan is a source country for young boys who are trafficked to the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Qatar as camel jockeys. Pakistani men and women travel to the Middle East in search of work and are put into situations of coerced labor, slave-like conditions, and physical abuse. Pakistan is a destination for women and children trafficked from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, and Central Asia for purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and labor. Women 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 despite severely limited resources and the fact that some of its territory is beyond the control of the government. The Government of Pakistan is strongest in prevention and protection. The government should increase training for low-level police officers, prosecutors, and judges throughout the country. Prosecution and conviction of those involved in perpetrating trafficking should increase over the next year.


The government does not support specific anti-trafficking prevention programs. The government supports targeted prevention programs such as poverty alleviation, the eradication of child labor, promotion of girls' education, and women's income generation projects, aimed at eradicating the root causes of trafficking. A government child labor initiative to keep children in school also targets those children and families most susceptible to trafficking. The government started a new program with benchmarks and target dates to eliminate child labor. At the provincial level, the Punjab Ministry of Social Welfare established women's workshops and training centers offering instruction in income generating activities. The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) Academy in Islamabad provides trafficking awareness training.


In October 2002, the government passed a law that criminalizes all aspects of trafficking, from recruitment and transporting to receiving a person. If rape or forced prostitution cases are prosecuted under the Islamic law-oriented Hudood ordinances, victims are reluctant to testify since, the woman's testimony is tantamount to an admission of adultery if prosecutors conclude that her testimony does not meet the burden of proof. Law enforcement investigates trafficking cases. The Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) reports that 11 people have been arrested for trafficking under the new statute and that prosecutions of those individuals are pending. Backlogged courts slow legal proceedings. Pakistan and Iran signed an agreement to conduct joint investigations on trafficking in persons and narcotics. The country worked with Iranian authorities on cases involving the trafficking of camel jockeys. The government is improving its ability to patrol its borders through training and equipment, but large areas of uncontrollable borders allow traffickers to bring women and children into Pakistan. Despite the establishment of a National Accountability Bureau and some noteworthy prosecutions of corruption cases, corruption remains a problem throughout Pakistan.


The government sponsors a variety of shelters and training programs throughout Pakistan that provide medical treatment, limited legal representation, and vocational training. The government provides temporary residence status to foreign trafficking victims, as well as a lawyer on demand. However, without the advocacy of an NGO, victims may be treated as criminals and detained on the basis of their illegal immigration status. Many victims languish in jail for months or years without having their cases heard. On the provincial and local level, the Punjab Ministry for Social Welfare collaborates with approximately 400 NGOs in providing women's shelters, orphanages, and rehabilitation programs for women and children. In destination countries for Pakistani laborers, embassy officials assist those who have been trafficked or placed in abusive working conditions.


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