U.S. Department of State 2007 Trafficking in Persons Report - Pakistan

Pakistan (Tier 2)

Pakistan is a source, destination, and transit country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. Pakistani women and men migrate voluntarily to the Gulf, Iran, Turkey, and Greece for work as domestic servants or construction workers. Once abroad, however, some find themselves in situations of involuntary servitude when faced with overwhelming recruitment and transportation fees, restrictions on their movement, and physical or sexual abuse. There were no new confirmed reports of the trafficking of Pakistani boys to the Middle East to serve as camel jockeys, but some NGOs contend that Pakistani children are trafficked to the Gulf for sexual exploitation. Pakistan faces a significant internal trafficking problem reportedly involving thousands of women and children trafficked to settle debts and disputes or forced into sexual exploitation or domestic servitude. Unconfirmed estimates of Pakistani victims of bonded labor are in the millions. Women and children from Bangladesh, India, Burma, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgz Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are also trafficked to Pakistan for sexual exploitation and involuntary servitude. In addition, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepali, and Burmese women are trafficked through Pakistan.

The Government of Pakistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so. During the reporting period, the government prosecuted traffickers, including government officials facilitating trafficking, and continued to refer victims to available protection services. Pakistan did not, however, demonstrate efforts to address the serious issues of bonded labor and other forms of involuntary servitude. Over the next year, Pakistan should continue to increase its anti-trafficking efforts, particularly in the areas of bonded labor, forced child labor, and internal trafficking for commercial sexual exploitation.


The Government of Pakistan made uneven progress in prosecuting trafficking this year. Pakistan prohibits all forms of trafficking in persons through its 2002 Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance. During the reporting period, the government convicted 65 traffickers under the Human Trafficking Ordinance. The government began an anti-trafficking investigation of 20 major traffickers and also requested that Interpol issue arrest warrants for 22 of its nationals accused of trafficking. In addition, Pakistan filed cases against 21 government officials for complicity in trafficking. Notably, in February 2007, the Federal Investigations Agency (FIA) began investigating a trafficking case involving a current Federal Minister. Nonetheless, Pakistan did not demonstrate increasing law enforcement efforts against bonded labor or other labor forms of trafficking. Although Pakistan has a significant bonded labor problem – estimated at over 1 million victims – the government did not provide evidence of any investigations, prosecutions, convictions, or sentences for bonded labor or involuntary servitude. The government should strengthen law enforcement efforts against such forms of trafficking, as well as against the internal trafficking of boys and girls for commercial sexual exploitation.


This year, the government took modest steps to improve victim protection. The government requires victims to assist in the investigation of trafficking cases and permits foreign victims to work pending the trial of their trafficker. Foreign victims reportedly are not prosecuted or deported for unlawful acts committed as a direct result of being trafficked, but some victims may still be subjected to prosecution for fornication, even as victims of sex trafficking. The government does not provide victims with legal alternatives to removal to a country where they might face hardship or retribution. Government officials routinely refer foreign victims to a shelter operated by IOM; and, Pakistani victims can access any of 276 government centers offering medical treatment, vocational training, and legal assistance to women and children. The government, however, lacks protection services for male victims who can neither access the IOM shelter nor the government centers. The government does not provide assistance to male or female victims of bonded and other forms of forced labor. Pakistan should: ensure that victims of trafficking are not punished; rescue and protect an increased number of victims of sex and labor forms of trafficking; and make available protection services to all victims of trafficking.


Pakistan made some progress in preventing trafficking over the last year. In March 2006, law enforcement officers from India and Pakistan formed a working group to cooperate on cross-border trafficking. Pakistan joined in a similar agreement with Iran in June 2006. The government continues to use technology to monitor airports for trafficking patterns and victims. Pakistan has not ratified the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.


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