PAKISTAN (TIER 2 Watch List) [Extracted from U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June 2009]
Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. The country’s largest human trafficking problem is that of bonded labor, which is concentrated in Sindh and Punjab provinces, particularly in brick kilns, carpet-making, agriculture, fishing, mining, leather tanning, and production of glass bangles; estimates of Pakistani victims of bonded labor, including men, women, and children, vary widely or forced marriages, and women are traded between tribal groups to settle disputes or as payment but are likely over one million. Parents sell their daughters into domestic servitude, prostitution, for debts. Pakistani women and men migrate voluntarily to Gulf states, Iran, and Greece for low-skilled work as domestic servants or in the construction industry. As a result of fraudulent job offers made and high fees charged during recruitment, however, some find themselves in conditions of involuntary servitude or debt bondage once abroad, including restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, threats, and physical or sexual abuse. Moreover, NGOs contend that Pakistani girls are trafficked to the Middle East for sexual exploitation. Pakistan is also a destination for women and children from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, India, Iran, and Nepal trafficked primarily for forced labor. Women from Bangladesh and Nepal are trafficked through Pakistan to the Gulf States.
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. Despite these significant overall efforts, including the prosecution of some trafficking offenses and the launch of public awareness programming, the government did not show evidence of progress in addressing the serious issues of bonded labor, forced child labor, and the trafficking of migrant workers by fraudulent labor recruiters; therefore, Pakistan is placed on Tier 2 Watch List. Convictions of trafficking offenders decreased during the reporting period. The government continued to punish victims of sex trafficking and did not provide protection services for victims of forced labor, including bonded labor.
Recommendations for Pakistan: Significantly increase law enforcement activities, including adequate criminal punishment, against bonded labor, forced child labor, and fraudulent labor recruiting for purposes of trafficking; continue to vigorously investigate, prosecute, and punish acts of government complicity in trafficking at all levels; and expand victim protection services for victims of forced labor and sex trafficking.
Pakistan did not provide data to demonstrate any significant law enforcement efforts against labor trafficking. Though Pakistan has a substantial problem of bonded labor, neither the federal nor the provincial governments provided evidence of criminal prosecutions, convictions, or punishments for perpetrators of bonded labor, or for other acts of forced labor, including fraudulent recruitment for the purpose of forced labor, and forced child labor. With respect to sex trafficking, primarily prosecuted as a transnational crime under PACHTO, during the reporting period, the government secured the convictions of 28 trafficking offenders – 24 fewer than last year; unlike in past years, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) did not make available the specifics of the punishments given to trafficking offenders. During the reporting period, FIA, with assistance from IOM and NGOs, continued to offer training on investigating trafficking cases and sensitively treating victims; FIA did not provide data on the number of law enforcement officials that received such training. Government officials at all levels have been implicated in human trafficking; there were reports of bribery of government and law enforcement officials during the reporting period. Pakistani authorities disciplined 147 law enforcement officers for complicity with human trafficking under the Government Service Rules and Regulations; 12 were permanently removed, four were compulsorily retired, and seven were reduced in rank. The remaining cases resulted in administrative actions.