[Dawn 25 April, 2019]

ISLAMABAD: More than 80,000 Pakistanis were deported last year, of which half were deported from Saudi Arabia, a report on human trafficking in Pakistan by the National Commission for Human Rights (NCHR) has found.

The Menace of Human Trafficking/Smuggling – Pakistan’s Response to the Problem has been finalised and is available with Dawn, but will be officially launched next month. The report also said that a large number of women and children are trafficked within Pakistan, but the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) does not have the mandate to act.

NCHR Researcher Ghulam Mohammad, who authored the report, told Dawn that around 50 people who travelled abroad illegally were interviewed. The interviews revealed that a number of people who had failed to reach western countries despite several attempts became agents, and were involved in human trafficking, because “they have complete knowledge of the different routes”, he said.

“Pakistanis are the 10th most identified individuals in the world who attempt at illegal migration to Australia as well as European countries. Pakistan is an important route for thousands of illegal migrants from Afghanistan, who use Balochistan’s border to gain access to Iran which then opens the gateway to Europe via Turkey. “Moreover, the Gulf countries are an easy target for Pakistanis who are employed as labourers, domestic workers and in agriculture. Dubai acts as a sex market for traffickers, where Pakistani women and girls – recruited on basis of a false job offer – are sold,” he said.