No country safe from human trafficking: UN

Published November 29, 2014
United Nations Assembly. — Reuters/File
United Nations Assembly. — Reuters/File

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations says there is no place in the world where children, women and men are safe from human trafficking.

According to the ‘2014 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons’, there are at least 152 countries (of origin) and 124 countries (of destination) affected by trafficking in persons, and over 510 trafficking flows criss-crossing the world.

Released by the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the report says that one in three known victims of human trafficking is a child – a five per cent increase compared to the 2007-2010 period. Girls make up two out of three child victims, and together with women, account for 70 per cent of overall victims worldwide.

More than 90pc of countries covered by the UNODC criminalise trafficking in persons. Many countries have passed new or updated legislation since the entry into force of the UN Protocol against Trafficking in Persons in 2003.

Although this legislative progress is remarkable, much work remains. Nine countries still lack legislation altogether and 18 others have partial legislation that covers only some victims or certain forms of exploitation.

Some of these countries are large and densely populated, which means that more than 2 billion people lack the full protection of the UN Protocol.

In Pakistan, anecdotal evidence suggests that victims of trafficking are among the largest number of irregular migrants. In particular there is evidence of women and children being trafficked to Pakistan for sexual exploitation, sometimes in the form of forced marriages. NGO workers have reported the presence of Chinese, Russian, Nepali, Iranian and Bangladeshi women in Pakistan.

The anti-trafficking unit of FIA, provincial police and labour inspectors investigated more than 11,000 cases which were registered for offences related to trafficking in persons. More than 5,000 cases were for sexual exploitation while other investigations were related to victims exploited in begging, bonded labour and forced marriages.

For nearly all crimes, male offenders vastly outnumber females. On average, some 10-15pc of convicted offenders are women. For trafficking in persons, however, even though males still comprise the vast majority, the share of women offenders is nearly 30pc. Moreover, approximately half of all detected trafficking victims are adult women. Although this share has been declining significantly in recent years, it has been partially offset by the increasing detection of victims who are girls.

The report notes that impunity remains a serious problem: 40pc of countries recorded few or no convictions, and over the past 10 years there has been no discernible increase in the global criminal justice response to this crime, leaving a significant portion of the population vulnerable to offenders.

Published in Dawn, November 29th , 2014

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