Human trafficking is a serious crime that needs to be highlighted at all levels for the awareness of citizens, particularly youth. This was said at a seminar organized by the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) in partnership with the Pakistan-US Alumni Network. The main purpose of this seminar was to highlight the issue of human trafficking in Pakistan and sensitize the students as well as faculty members about it.
Speaking at this occasion about trafficking in person and bonded labor in Pakistan, Prof. Dr. Rubeena Zakar said, “When we talk about bonded labor, the question comes to our mind what bonded labor is? It’s like modern slavery. In Pakistan, 1.2 million people are involved in bonded labor who are often subjected to human trafficking.” This shows the enormity of the issue, she added.
Prof. Dr. Farhan Navid Yousaf, the organizer of the seminar, said that people are recruited and transported as part of the trafficking process, after which they are sold or coerced into different types of labor and servitude, including forced prostitution and forced marriages.
“A person's fundamental rights and dignity are gravely violated by human trafficking. The most disadvantaged, particularly women, children, and uneducated people are disproportionately affected, he added.”
Executive Director of SSDO Syed Kausar Abbas said, “Because of the ever-increasing unemployment, frustration, and instability in the country, the youth of Pakistan is the most vulnerable target for trafficking in persons.” While Barrister Haaris Ramzan, a renowned lawyer, talked about the laws that deal with human trafficking in Pakistan. He said although there are numerous laws in Pakistan about trafficking, the main concern is the implementation of these laws.
Shahzad Amir, CEO Punjab Charity Commission and focal person of trafficking in persons, Government of Punjab, shared that the government was committed to curbing this crime and for this, his team was working determinedly. He told that Pakistan improved its human trafficking ranking last year and was removed from the US watch list.
Journalist Mr. Salman Abid highlighted the role of media in curbing human trafficking in Pakistan and sensitizing people about it. Whereas, renowned activist, Syeda Ghulam Fatima said, “Pakistan is our home and we need to play our roles individually to eradicate human trafficking rather than relying only on government institutions”.
The Chief Guest of the seminar, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Zakria Zakar, Vice Chancellor, University of Poonch, AJK, emphasized that academics should conduct research on various facets of human trafficking for a better understanding of the phenomenon that could help formulate evidence-based interventions to effectively counter this malaise in Pakistan.
The seminar was attended by more than 100 students and faculty members of the institute.