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Street Children

Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery

Poverty drives the unsuspecting poor into the hands of traffickers

Published reports & articles from 2000 to 2025                         

Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Pakistan, an impoverished and underdeveloped country, has suffered from decades of internal political disputes, low levels of foreign investment, and declining exports of manufactures.

Poverty levels decreased by 10% since 2001, and Islamabad steadily raised development spending in recent years.

Inflation remains the top concern among the public, jumping from 7.7% in 2007 to 20.8% in 2008, primarily because of rising world fuel and commodity prices. [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Description: Pakistan

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 but are likely over one million. Parents sell their daughters into domestic servitude, prostitution, or forced marriages, and women are traded between tribal groups to settle disputes or as payment for debts. - U.S. State Dept Trafficking in Persons Report, June, 2009   Check out a later country report here and possibly a full TIP Report here



CAUTION: The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Pakistan. Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false. No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Human Trafficking are of particular interest to you.  Would you like to write about Forced-Labor?  Debt Bondage? Prostitution? Forced Begging? Child Soldiers? Sale of Organs? etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include precursors of trafficking such as poverty and hunger. There is a lot to the subject of Trafficking.  Scan other countries as well.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Slavery in the 21st century

Alan McCombes, Scottish Socialist Voice, November 2001

[accessed 21 December 2011]

Bonded labour otherwise known as debt slavery is rampant in Pakistan. The system works as follows. Desperately poor families go to a feudal employer usually a brick kiln owner or a carpet manufacturer and ask them for a loan, perhaps to pay for medical treatment for a sick child.

In return for the loan, the entire family is turned into the private property of the employer. They are forced to work long hours for pitiful wage and half of these wages are kept by the factory owner as payment towards the loan. The loan may take a generation or more to pay off. But until it is paid, the family are held in slavery.

Iqbal had been sold by his mother to a carpet manufacturer at the age of four. For years he spent twelve hours a day, seven days a week working in carpet factories for a pittance. He eventually rebelled against his conditions and became a major figure in the BLLF. At the age of 12 he was traveling Pakistan addressing mass meetings and leading demos of thousands of children against industrial slavery. To this day, his murder has never been satisfactorily explained.

Contemporary Forms of Slavery in Pakistan

Human Rights Watch/Asia, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 95-77876, ISBN 1-56432-154-1, July 1995

[accessed 15 December 2010]

SUMMARY - Millions of workers in Pakistan are held in contemporary forms of slavery. Throughout the country employers forcibly extract labor from adults and children, restrict their freedom of movement, and deny them the right to negotiate the terms of their employment. Employers coerce such workers into servitude through physical abuse, forced confinement, and debt-bondage. The state offers these workers no effective protection from this exploitation. Although slavery is unconstitutional in Pakistan and violates various national and international laws, state practices support its existence. The state rarely prosecutes or punishes employers who hold workers in servitude. Moreover, workers who contest their exploitation are invariably confronted with police harassment, often leading to imprisonment under false charges.

Third Anniversary of the Murder of Iqbal Masih, Pakistani Child Activist (1983-1995)

Child Labor Coalition, Washington DC, April 15, 1998

[accessed 28 August 2011]

Iqbal Masih made a difference. His was the voice of a child pointing out to adults the horrible costs and injustices of child slavery. Twelve years old and one of the mightiest voices in Pakistan against child labor, Iqbal was a compelling survivor of slavery in Pakistan's carpet industry.

For half of his life, Iqbal was bonded in the hand-knotted carpet industry. Enslaved at the age of four, for an advance of less than $16 to his parents, he was chained to his loom, tying tiny knots for twelve hours a day, every day. Six years later, when he confronted his boss demanding his freedom, the debt he owed had risen to $419.

Woman jailed for forcing child into sex trade

Independent Online (IOL) News, Dushanbe, November 5 2004

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Last week a non-governmental organisation said there was a growing trend in the abduction and sale of Tajik boys for sexual exploitation abroad.  The Modar organisation said groups in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Pakistan and other countries were prepared to pay as much as $70 000 for a Tajik boy between the ages of 10 and 12.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Pakistan religious discrimination is enabling human trafficking

Travis Weber & Arielle Del Turco, Washington Examiner, 3 February 2020

[accessed 3 February 2020]

The forced marriage pipeline from Pakistan to China was recently highlighted by a newly uncovered list of 629 Pakistani women and girls sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. Pakistani investigators painstakingly gathered this information, which points to an alarming trend in the lucrative crime of human trafficking — the targeting of Christians in Pakistan. For Pakistan, ending this barbaric trade means protecting religious freedom and ceasing the marginalization of Christian communities, which makes them easy targets for foreign traffickers.

Chinese traffickers are targeting these marginalized religious minorities. Traffickers approach impoverished families and offer to pay parents to marry their daughters off to Chinese husbands who will take them to a new life in China. The burden of poverty and social marginalization felt by some Christians drives them to accept this offer out of desperation. Brokers who arrange these marriages have even paid pastors to encourage their congregants to marry their daughters off to Chinese men.

What happens to these brides in China is tragic. Some are abused and isolated. Others are forced into prostitution. In one case, a Pakistani woman escaped back to Pakistan after only two months of marriage in China. She returned malnourished, weak, and unrecognizable. A few weeks later, she was dead.

Pakistani officials claim women trafficked into prostitution in China after marriage

CBS News, Faisalabad, 17 June 2019

[accessed 18 June 2019]

With waves of arrests, Pakistani investigators are trying to unravel trafficking networks that convince impoverished Pakistanis to marry off their daughters to Chinese men for cash and they say evidence is growing that many of the women and girls are sold into prostitution once in China.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Pakistan

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 21 June 2021]


The use of forced and bonded labor was widespread and common in several industries across the country. NGOs estimated that nearly two million persons were in bondage, primarily in Sindh and Punjab, but also in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A large proportion of bonded laborers were low-caste Hindus as well as Christians and Muslims with lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Bonded labor was reportedly present in the agricultural sector, including the cotton, sugarcane, and wheat industries, and in the brick, coal, and carpet industries. Bonded laborers often were unable to determine when their debts were paid in full, in part, because contracts were rare, and employers could take advantage of bonded laborers’ illiteracy to alter debt amounts or the price laborers paid for goods they acquired from their employers. In some cases landowners restricted laborers’ movements with armed guards or sold laborers to other employers for the price of the laborers’ debts.


Boys and girls were bought, sold, rented, or kidnapped to work in illegal begging rings, as domestic servants, or as bonded laborers in agriculture and brickmaking (see section 7.c.). Illegal labor agents charged high fees to parents with false promises of decent work for their children and later exploited them by subjecting the children to forced labor in domestic servitude, unskilled labor, small shops, and other sectors.

Child labor remained pervasive, with many children working in agriculture and domestic work. There were also reports that small workshops employed a large number of child laborers, which complicated efforts to enforce child labor laws. Poor rural families sometimes sold their children into domestic servitude or other types of work, or they paid agents to arrange for such work, often believing their children would work under decent conditions. Some children sent to work for relatives or acquaintances in exchange for education or other opportunities ended in exploitative conditions or forced labor. Children also were kidnapped or sold into organized begging rings, domestic servitude, militant groups and gangs, and child sex trafficking.

Freedom House Country Report

2020 Edition

[accessed 8 July 2020]


Bonded labor was formally abolished in 1992, and there have been long-standing efforts to enforce the ban and related laws against child labor. For example, in one example from May 2019, 63 brick kiln workers filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HCRP) that they had been sold along with the kiln where they worked. They were formally released from bondage by a court order in June. Gradual social change has also eroded the power of wealthy landowning families involved in such exploitation. Nevertheless, extreme forms of labor exploitation remain common. Employers continue to use chronic indebtedness to restrict laborers’ rights and hold actual earnings well below prescribed levels, particularly among sharecroppers and in the brick-kiln industry.

2017 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2018

[accessed 22 April 2019]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 773]

A national child labor survey has not been conducted since 1996, and the lack of recent data hampers the ability of the federal and provincial governments to accurately assess the scope and prevalence of child labor. (12) Many child domestic workers are working under conditions of forced labor, including debt bondage, sexual assault, and extreme physical abuse. (1; 41; 42) Some children work with their families as bonded laborers in the production of bricks. (12; 61; 55)

Non-state militant groups forced children to engage in suicide attacks. (58; 59; 60) There are reports that religious schools are used for recruitment of children for armed groups. (62) Additionally, the Taliban recruited and forced children to attend madrassas, or religious schools, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they received religious and military training. Some families received cash payments in exchange for sending their children to the Taliban-run schools. (63).

In 2014, slavery still exists…

Umar Riaz, The Express Tribune Blogs, June 15, 2014

[accessed 15 June 2014]

Iram, 10, was an orphan and one of five siblings. She was sent from a small village in Okara to work in a posh locality of Lahore. There, she was beaten for days with iron rods and gas pipes over a false allegation of theft. She succumbed to the torture and fainted after vomiting blood. When her oppressors brought her to the hospital, she was already dead. However, the family responsible for her murder was more concerned about the upcoming marriage in their house than the fact that they had brutally killed an innocent child.

Fizza, 15, was working for an educated family in Defence, Lahore. She started working at the age of nine with her mother and later on, she was left there, all alone. Her landlord made her an object of punishment and penance. She was beaten on a routine basis and was denied medical treatment, even when her bones and joints were broken. She used to be tied by her wrists and ankles by a tight rope, as punishment. She was unconscious when they finally brought her to the hospital, and remained in a coma for two days. After that, her lungs stopped working and her brain ruptured, causing her death.

Azra, 17, had been working since her childhood. At her last employment, she was sexually assaulted by the son of her landlord. Later, when the family found about the rape, fearing that she might report it against their son, she was strangulated and killed by the landlord's family.

Saudi Religious Leader Calls for Slavery's Legalization

Daniel Pipes, Lion's Den (Daniel Pipes Blog), November 7, 2003

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Muslims, in contrast, still think the old way. Slavery still exists in a host of majority-Muslim countries (especially Sudan and Mauritania, also Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) and it is a taboo subject. To enable pious Muslims to avoid interest, an Islamic financial industry worth an estimated $150 billion has developed.

The challenge ahead is clear: Muslims must emulate their fellow monotheists by modernizing their religion with regard to slavery, interest and much else. No more fighting jihad to impose Muslim rule. No more endorsement of suicide terrorism. No more second-class citizenship for non-Muslims.

Pakistan court frees five alleged attackers in gang rape

Saeed Shah in Lahore, The Guardian, 21 April 2011

[accessed 22 April 2011]

Mai's ordeal began after her 13-year-old brother was accused by a more powerful clan of having sex with one of their young women. He was then sodomised in a sugar cane field by the woman's brother, Abdul Khaliq, and two other men. There appears to be no basis for the original accusation.

A tribal council was assembled from Khaliq's clan, which ordered that Mai be punished for her brother's illicit sex by being raped, on the basis of eye-for-an-eye justice. Mai was forced at gunpoint by Khaliq into a stable, where he and other clan members raped her. She was then paraded naked around the village. Tradition dictated that Mai commit suicide, as the shame supposedly fell on her, but she decided to fight her tormentors.

The cruelty of Mai's case is repeated in the treatment of women across the country, with tribal councils regularly ordering young girls to be handed over in compensation for crimes committed by other family members, and women to be killed for "honour".

Human trafficking gang busted, girl recovered

The News International, Peshawar, 25 May 2009

[accessed 19 August 2014]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Sunday busted an international human trafficking gang and recovered a girl sold to an Arab Sheikh for Rs2 million. The officials of the FIA Peshawar were tipped off that a gang would smuggle a young girl of Lala Killay to Dubai where she had been sold to …

Human trafficking victim narrates her ordeal

The News International, 01/07/2009

[accessed 19 August 2014]

[scroll down]

Shabana was lured with a nice job and kidnapped along with her three daughters and one son on July 20, 2008 and taken to the 'katcha area' of Kashmore on the Sindh-Balochistan border area. "A man called Rasheed Shar said I was like his sister. He offered me a nice job in interior Sindh," Shabana told The News on Tuesday. "He took me to a 'katchi area' near Kashmore along with my four kids - seven-year-old Sana, four-year-old Roshi, six-year-old Aisha, and eight-year-old Suleman." "He kept us there for three days and then disappeared. My elder daughter Sana became ill and I tried to escape but Rasheed's younger brother, Shabeeb, threatened to kill us," she said with tears in her eyes. "Then they shifted me to a place near the river and threatened to throw me in the water after killing me. However, Rasheed's son-in-law Lalu became a blessing in disguise and helped us."

After two or three weeks, one of Rasheed's brothers came to Shabana and said that they were dacoits. "Rasheed called us up on his brother's cell phone, and said he was waiting for us on the other bank of the river. He told us to get on a boat which was waiting there. He promised he would take us back to Karachi," Shabana said. "After about two hours we were shifted to the 'katcha area' across the river. However, the moment we arrived there, we were surrounded by many people and I came to know that I was being sold. I told them I was already married but I was sold to an elderly man, Ali Mohammad Kurd. I remained with him for about two months and was often beaten severely. In the meantime, several other people offered to purchase me. I was sold thrice. However, on a lucky day, I along with my kids managed to escape to Kashmore."

'Rat people' forced to beg on Pakistan's streets

Agence France-Presse AFP, Gujrat, Pakistan, Aug 1, 2008

[accessed 19 August 2014]

[accessed 13 August 2020]

Outside a Muslim shrine in this dusty Pakistani city, a "rat woman" with a tiny head sits on a filthy mattress and takes money from worshippers who cling to an ancient fertility rite. Nadia, 25, is one of hundreds of young microcephalics -- people born with small skulls and protruding noses and ears because of a genetic mutation -- who can be found on the streets of Gujrat, in central Punjab province. Officials say many of them have been sold off by their families to begging mafias, who exploit a tradition that the "rat children" are sacred offerings to Shah Daula, the shrine's 17th century Sufi saint.

According to local legend, infertile women who pray at Shah Daula's shrine will be granted children, but at a terrible price. The first child will be born microcephalic and must be given to the shrine, or else any further children will have the same deformity. Hussain said Nadia was just a young child when she was dumped at the shrine 20 years ago in the dead of the night. Her parents were never traced, he says.

"Some of these children, the handicapped ones especially, are accompanied by relatives," he told AFP. "But begging gangs also look for poor parents who will sell them because they are a burden to feed and shelter." Sohail said his department had busted more than 30 gangs across the province involved in exploiting street children, some of which had broken the limbs of children so that they would earn more as beggars. - htsc

HRCP terms 2007 'multi-crisis year'

Daily Times, Lahore, March 30, 2008

[accessed 19 August 2014]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

HRCP Director IA Rehman told reporters at the launch of the organisation's annual report - 'State of Human Rights in 2007' - at the Lahore Press Club that many reports had been received from various parts of Balochistan in 2007, claiming that parents or children had been left with no option but to sell their kidneys in order to feed their families, due to the ongoing crisis of armed conflict there.

Organ trafficking: a fast-expanding black market

IHS Jane's, 05 March 2008

[accessed 26 June 2013]

China, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Brazil, the Philippines, Moldova, and Romania are among the world's leading providers of trafficked organs. If China is known for harvesting and selling organs from executed prisoners, the other countries have been dealing essentially with living donors, becoming stakeholders in the fast-growing human trafficking web.

Pakistan: poverty forces trafficking of children on the rise

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Lahore, 21 January 2008

[accessed 10 September 2011]

While boys in impoverished parts of rural Pakistan, particularly towns in the southern Punjab, are more likely to be trafficked overseas, girls are trafficked more often within the country, and sometimes sold into what amounts to little more than sexual slavery, says the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP).

HRCP has reported that in most cases, they are given away for amounts of money ranging from US$1,300 to $5,000 by impoverished parents, sometimes in "marriage"; and sometimes to agents who promise lucrative jobs as domestic servants in large cities.

Many of these girls, according to child rights groups, end up as sex workers. Some are no older than 10 at the time of the "sale".

"Hundreds of girls are trafficked within the country each year. There are markets in the North West Frontier Province where these victims are sold like cattle," I.A. Rehman, director of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, said. - htcp

International day to eliminate violence against women on 25th

Nadia Usman, Daily Times, Lahore, November 24, 2007

[accessed 19 August 2014]

[accessed 19 August 2014]

According to the data compiled by Madadgaar Helpline, 4,624 women were victimised in Pakistan from January to August. Of them, 935 women were killed, 104 murdered after rape, 416 raped, 160 gang raped, 809 tortured, 485 became victims of karo-kari, 166 burnt, 642 kidnapped, 129 reported as victim of police torture, 576 committed suicide, 127 fell victim of human trafficking and 75 were arrested under the Hudood Ordinance.

SPARC condemns human trafficking

The News, Karachi, February 28, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

Some tribal elders from Balochistan also attended the meeting in which the girl's family was told to give her as per their customs. This trading, which in many cases is done under the name of loan settling, is contingent upon the power, might and money of the lenders, who provide loans to the needy and later impose heavy interest in order to get away with their innocent minor daughters. "Child trafficking can be facilitated by local practices and customs because of the economic problems a family faces that forces them to sell their daughters to marriage.

Horrific fate awaits children spurned by society

Aroosa Masroor Khan, The News, Karachi, February 22, 2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

"Saddar is the hub of street children from all areas of Karachi," says Aqsa Zainab of Azad Foundation, adding that child abusers are mostly found near shrines where 'langar' is distributed or near railway stations where they arrive from other cities. It is from here the young boys are kidnapped and sold as commercial sex workers. - htsccp

Govt committed to eliminate problems of human trafficking: Shaukat Aziz

The News, Islamabad, February 05, 2008

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

The Prime Minister was informed that there has been a significant increase in the arrest of human traffickers and smugglers. Whereas only 300 human smugglers were arrested in 2004. The number of arrested smugglers increased to 874 in 2006 while the number of deportees has been decreased.

UN report regarding Pakistan in human trafficking baseless, Senate told

Pak Tribune, Islamabad, September 14, 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Meanwhile, Federal Health Minister Nasser Khan told Upper House a particular lobby is working against Pakistan and several Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and European Countries are trying to defame Pakistan.

Pak one of the key sources of women trafficking in world: UN report

Bureau Report, Zee News, September 12, 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

A UN report has described Pakistan as the "one of the key sources of women trafficking" in the world. It said that India had also lately emerged as a key destination and transit point for global trafficking of women and girls.

Pakistani minister for community involvement in eliminating human trafficking

Xinhua News Agency, June 20 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Pakistani Interior Minister Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao on Monday stressed the need for involvement of the whole community in the efforts to eliminate human trafficking. "We believe that most effective way of eliminating human trafficking is by empowering people at risk," he said, adding that "empowerment of people is possible through education, employment and provision of security,"

Crackdown on human trafficking

Islamabad, 2006

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

ISLAMABAD - About 150 were taken into custody from Islamabad International Airport on account of human trafficking, blacklist passports and illegal travelling by the Federal Investigation Agency in the last five months.

Human trafficking allegations involve Swiss diplomatic missions in Pakistan

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation CBC News, May 19, 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Switzerland has announced it is replacing all its embassy and consular staff in Pakistan after accusations some employees were involved in a human trafficking racket.

Switzerland shut the visa section at its Islamabad embassy earlier this month, following a Pakistani investigation into the illegal issuing of Swiss visas that has led to a number of arrests.

Swiss Envoys in Pakistan Embroiled in Human Trafficking, Islamabad, May 8, 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

The issue came to the surface after local media started highlighting the plight of Pakistani visa applicants who complained of sexual harassment by Swiss embassy officials.

FIA has curbed human trafficking

Javed Afridi, Daily Times, Peshawar, May 07, 2006

[accessed 19 August 2014]

The Federal Investigation Agency's (FIA) work over the last year and a half has brought down human trafficking by "200 percent" over the period, Sherpao told reporters at Peshawar International Airport.

Indo-Pak girls forced into prostitution

Hindustan Times, Asian News International, Lahore, February 6, 2006

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[accessed 4 May 2020]

In a startling case of organised women trafficking that has come to light, Pakistani and Indian girls aged between 11 and 13 are being smuggled to the Middle East countries for being forced into prostitution there. The girls, who are shown as aged between 20 and 22 on their passports, are brought to these countries on the pretext of getting them attracting jobs. - htcp

Quake Orphans Being Sold into Prostitution

The Australian News, 10/30/2005

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Aisha loves the clothes her new guardian has bought for her, what she doesn't realize is this woman just bought her for $1500 and intends to make her into a prostitute. Other children in the area are being bought up by pimps who will pay twice that.

Slavery Survives, Despite Universal Abolition

Ron Synovitz, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty RFE/RL, August 22, 2005

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Nadeem has spent most of his life hunched over a carpet loom in Lahore, Pakistan, trying to pay off a loan given to his parents years ago. "I'm 12 years old and I've been working since I was 4," Nadeem says. Nadeem is one of thousands of children who work as bonded laborers in Pakistan's carpet industry. As in most countries, bonded child labor is illegal in Pakistan. But enforcement of that law is sporadic.

US Report Lauds Pak Steps Against Human Trafficking

Pakistan Link, Islamabad, Jan 11, 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

The US State Department has praised Pakistan's efforts in combating human trafficking and that the Pakistan government is moving in the right direction to tackle the menace.
The interim report has particularly acknowledged improvement in conviction rate of human traffickers and performance of inter-ministerial committee.

Girls In Iran Being Sold In Pakistan On Daily Basis

Iran Focus, Tehran, 02 Mar 2005

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

At least 54 Iranian girls and young women, between the ages of 16 and 25, are sold on the streets of Karachi in Pakistan on a daily basis, according to report outlining the latest statistics. The report also revealed that there are at present at least 300,000 runaway girls in Iran, adding that the estimated number of women under the absolute poverty line was more than eight million.

Forced Marriage - Pakistanis Order Betrothal of 2-Year-Old

Khalid Tanveer, Associated Press AP, Multan, Pakistan, Feb 21, 2005

[accessed 19 August 2014]

A tribal council in Pakistan has ordered the betrothal of a 2-year-old girl to a man 40 years older to punish her uncle for an alleged affair with the man's wife, police said Monday. The council decreed the girl must marry 42-year-old Mohammed Altaf, her uncle's cousin, when she turns 18, police said.

In 2002, another village council near Multan ordered a woman gang-raped as punishment for her brother's sexual relations with another woman.

Man Sells Two Minor Daughters

The Dawn Media Group, Sukkur, Aug 25, 2004

[accessed 10 September 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

A man allegedly sold his two minor daughters in the Allah Warrayo Mallah village, near Bozdar Wada, Khairpur, on Tuesday morning. Seven-year-old Fauzia and five-year-old Aasia were sold by their father , Lal Bux alias Laloo Shaikh, for Rs80,000 and an acre of agricultural land.

She said their father without their consent had engaged them to Sikiladho and Allah Warrayo, both sons of Sono Pasayo. She said when they resisted this decision, their father started beating them after which she came to the house of her uncle.

Judge Orders Inquiry Into Sale Of Seven-Year-Old Girl

Qurban Ali Khushik, Dadu, April 6, 2004 [accessed 2 September 2012]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

A judge directed police to conduct an inquiry into the sale of a seven-year-old girl to a 35-year-old man for marriage. His wife complained that he had sold the girl for Rs18,000 to a resident of Mazdoorabad Mohalla in Dadu for marriage but the girl managed to escape.

Girl Rescued From Gamblers

The Dawn Media Group, Okara, Jul 21, 2004

[accessed 10 September 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

Villagers came to the rescue of a girl who was being handed over to some gamblers by her father on Tuesday at Phokarwan Kamboh village, Deepalpur.

Reports said Allah Ditta of 20/GD lost Rs160,000 in gambling a month ago.

After some time when Allah Ditta could not pay the amount, the winners sought custody of his daughter

Child camel jockeys find hope

Lucy Williamson, BBC News, Dubai, 4 February 2005

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Children from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sudan are still being smuggled to the United Arab Emirates to work as camel jockeys, despite a law passed two years ago banning their use. It is not uncommon for child jockeys to fall off and be injured while racing, and their illegal status means race track owners are often reluctant to take them to hospital. Instead, says Ansar Burney, the boys often arrive with broken hands or broken legs. And many, he says, have been sodomized.

Pakistan's slave trade

Andrew Bushell, Jamrud, Pakistan, The Boston Phoenix, Issue Date: February 14-21, 2002

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

Servitude exists in many forms in Pakistan. Over the past two decades, hundreds of thousands of Afghan families - eager to flee 20 years of war and three years of drought - have sought safe haven in Pakistan, only to spend the rest of their lives working to pay off the debts they accumulated to get there. They do so by becoming indentured laborers, often at brick factories, and by sending their children to carpet factories that crave small fingers. Indentured servitude is not only legal but ubiquitous in Pakistan, and servant culture thrives: the wealthy can have a driver, three maids, a cook, and a night watchman for less than $75 a month.

Pakistan Womens Issues

[access date unavailable]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

Women are being sold like animals in Pakistani markets. The trade is being encouraged by corrupt officials and politicians in the Sindh province of the country. Anti human practices are taking place in markets of Thar and other parts of Sindh under protection of influential politicians. The buyers of these unfortunate women fix their prices after examining and scanning their bodies. They humiliate and sexually harass these women in public.

Modern Day Slavery Fact Sheet

Meg, Anti-Slavery, Sep 29, 2004

[accessed 2 September 2012]

The most common form of slavery is debt bondage, in which a human being becomes collateral against a loan. With a massive population boom in regions of staggering poverty, some families have nothing to pledge for a loan but their own labor. With inflated interest rates, debts are often inherited, ensnaring generations. 15 to 20 million slaves are in debt bondage in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Facts & Figures

A Rapid Assessment of Bonded Labour in the Carpet Industry of Pakistan, International Labour Office, March 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

PAKISTAN - • Young children whose parents take money in advance for their work on carpet looms are victims of the "peshgi" or debt-bondage system in Pakistan. They are paid half the wages of older workers and are not allowed to leave the premises until the debt is fully paid. Older workers sexually abuse these children. (A Rapid Assessment of Bonded Labour in the Carpet Industry of Pakistan, International Labour Office, March 2004).

Nike Shoes and Child Labor in Pakistan

TED Case Studies

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[accessed 14 June 2017]

NIKE AS A HELPER OR EXPLOITER TO IIIRD WORLD - A columnist 'Stephen Chapman'  from Libertarian newspaper argues that "But why is it unconscionable for a poor country to allow child labor? Pakistan has a per-capita income of $1,900 per year - meaning that the typical person subsists on barely $5 per day. Is it a a revelation - or a crime - that some parents willingly send their children off to work in a factory to survive? Is it cruel for Nike to give them the chance?"


Stephen argues that the best way to end child-labor is to buy more of the products that children produce. This would increase their demand, and as they will produce more, they will earn more, hence giving themselves chane to rise above poverty level and thus also benefiting the families of the children and as well as the nation.

However, the issue is not that simple. Increasing the demand of the products produced by child labor means encouraging more child labor, encouraging more birth rates, more slavery, increasing sweatshops and discouraging education - as parents of the children working in factories would want them to work more and earn more. If this happened to be the case, then more and more children will be bought and sold on the black market, leading no end to this problem. By encouraging more child labor, you are not only taking away those innocent years from them but also the right to be educated and the right to be free.

In Pakistan, 'slavery' persists

Owais Tohid, Hyderabad, Pakistan, The Christian Science Monitor, December 15, 2003

[accessed 15 December 2010]

"Once the hari [peasant] is caught in debt then he and his family becomes virtual prisoners of the feudal lord," says Nasreen Pathan with Pakistan-based Human Rights Commission. "Peasants are illiterate and cannot keep account, and the interest on the loan increases on the whims and wishes of feudal lords and their men."

People are either born into bondage, sold into it by family members, or enter through loans they cannot repay. "I was born on the fields, married there, but did not want to die there," says Sanwal Kohli, who was released three years ago by the human rights activists during a police-led raid. Showing scars on his back and legs, he says, "They used to beat us up for slightest mistakes and kept us chained at nights. Armed men guarded the fields so nobody would run away."

IOM launches initiative to combat human trafficking

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Islamabad, 16 March 2004

[accessed 25 February 2015]

In 2002, police recovered 11 infants - the oldest barely 18 months - from a middle-class Karachi suburb where the kidnappers were making preparations to smuggle the babies to Malaysia for a reported price tag of US $20,000 each. Such children, according to social workers and law-enforcement officials, often end up being sold into prostitution or crime rings; or end up as camel-jockeys in the Middle East.

Killing for carpets -- slavery and death in Pakistan's carpet industry

Third World Traveler

[accessed 15 December 2010]

"Oriental" carpets are valued throughout the world. They are found in the homes of the well-to-do, on the floors of corporate boardrooms, and in marbled palaces of sheiks and kings. They come from Asia and the Middle East -- Iran, Kashmir, China, and the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union. They are also made in Pakistan, in factories in which children as young as four years of age, often chained to their looms, squat shoulders hunched, for 14 hours a day, six days a week, making beautifully intricate carpets by tying thousands of knots with fingers gnarled and callused from years of back-breaking labor. In Pakistan, between 500,000 and 1,000,000 children between the ages of four and fourteen work full-time as carpet weavers.

Stop Child Slave Auctions in Pakistan

Andrew Bushell, "Sale of Children Thrives in Pakistan", Washington Times

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]


As the war in Afghanistan continues, many children fleeing into Pakistan face a life worse than one under the Taliban: slavery. Desperate and starving, these Afghan child refugees are sold to or abuducted by middlemen.

They are then sold again in bustling slave auctions to the highest bidder. The boys are used as domestic or manual laborers; some are shipped to the Persian Gulf, where they are used as camel jockeys. The price for the girls is euphemized as a dowry. But they never marry; instead, the girls are used for sex - in a brothel, as a concubine, or in a harem.

The Enslavement of Dalit and Indigenous Communities in India, Nepal and Pakistan through Debt Bondage [PDF]

UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, February 2001

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

SUMMARY: This paper describes the gross and continuing violation of the rights of millions of people in India, Pakistan and Nepal, who are trapped in debt bondage and forced to work to repay loans. Their designation as persons belonging outside the Hindu caste system is a major determining factor of their enslavement. Evidence from all three countries shows that the vast majority (80%-98%) of bonded labourers are from communities designated as "untouchable", to whom certain occupations are assigned, or from indigenous communities. In the same way that caste status is inherited, so debts are passed on to the succeeding generations.

Modern Slavery - Human bondage in Africa, Asia, and the Dominican Republic

Ricco Villanueva Siasoco, infoplease, April 18, 2001

[accessed 15 December 2010]

SHACKLED LABORERS IN PAKISTAN - Many of the bonded laborers are shackled in leg-irons in Pakistan. Though much of the debt these cane-harvesters have incurred is real, the practice of exchanging human labor for landowners' loans is illegal.

In a 1992 law passed by the Pakistani government, landlords are barred from offering loans in exchange for work or to hold workers hostage to their debts. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has freed approximately 7,500 bonded laborers since 1995.

By the commission's estimates, there are still roughly 50,000 bonded laborers in southern Singh. Many of those freed now reside in the city of Hyderabad in makeshift camps. Most are afraid to return to their homeland, however, for fear they will be recaptured and enslaved again.

Bonded Child Labour in Pakistan

Child Workers in Asia CWA Newsletter, Vol. 13 , no. 4 (Oct.-Dec. 1997)

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

Sakina* is 12 years old and works with her family as a bonded labourer for a landlord in Umerkot district in Sindh Province, Pakistan. Her family needed money and accepted wages in advance from a landlord. Over time they became trapped, and now work just to pay a debt that grows each year.

I pluck cotton and chillies, harvest wheat and other crops and do whatever is asked by the landlord...They beat me and keep us hungry. They say they will not give us food if we do not work... I can't leave or my parents will be beaten and where will I go?"

The New Slavery: An Interview with Kevin Bales

The Sun, October 2001

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

Bales: Debt bondage is the most common form of slavery in the world today, particularly in Pakistan and India. It's also illegal, but tends to be a little more adaptable to modern economics. Here's how it works: A person borrows some money and pledges his or her labor as collateral against that loan. The length and nature of the service are not defined, and the profits from the slave's labor don't reduce the original debt: that money automatically belongs to the person who made the loan in the first place.

Jensen: So if you're a debt-bonded slave, you're not working to pay back the loan?

Bales: No, because you and all of your labor have become collateral. The money to pay back the loan has to come from somewhere else. That's the way it is with most debt bondage. In some debt bondage, the work is supposedly paying back what's been borrowed, but in reality it's almost impossible to pay back the debt. I've met families in India who've been bonded for four generations on one debt: Great-grandfather borrowed thirty dollars, and Great-grandson is still working to pay it off. In a sense, this resembles chattel slavery, because it's passed down through generations, except the rationale for the slavery is the debt.

Modern Day Slavery Around The World

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Slavery takes different forms in different lands. In Pakistan and India there is debt bondage. Poor people are tricked with promises of good jobs, but they are isolated and must deal with their employer in every way. The food they buy and other required things are sold only by their employers, with very high prices. The workers are forced to stay and work until the debt is paid off. But the deck is stacked so the debt keeps getting bigger. The "employee" is a slave for life.

And, even beyond life. The children are kept working until the debt is paid, which never happens. Generations are forced to work without ever seeing a day of freedom. Like other slaveries, force is used to keep the worker in his place. Beatings, threats and killings are commonplace.

Bonded Labour in Pakistan

United Nations Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and protection of Minorities, Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Geneva, 23 June - 2 July 1999

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 10 September 2011]

However, in 1999 we are obliged to conclude that, despite temporary progress following the Supreme Court's judgment, debt bondage remains both widespread and virtually unchallenged by the Government of Pakistan. Indeed, it is both remarkable and tragic how little government officials have been willing to do to enforce the country's laws and to bring an end to debt bondage, and how willingly they appear to tolerate its persistence.

Child Labour Persists Around The World: More Than 13 Percent Of Children 10-14 Are Employed

International Labour Organisation (ILO) News, Geneva, 10 June 1996

[accessed 9 September 2011]

[accessed 11 February 2018]

"Today's child worker will be tomorrow's uneducated and untrained adult, forever trapped in grinding poverty. No effort should be spared to break that vicious circle", says ILO Director-General Michel Hansenne.

Among the countries with a high percentage of their children from 10-14 years in the work force are: Mali, 54.5 percent; Burkina Faso, 51; Niger and Uganda, both 45; Kenya, 41.3; Senegal, 31.4; Bangladesh, 30.1; Nigeria, 25.8; Haiti, 25; Turkey, 24; Côte d'Ivoire, 20.5; Pakistan, 17.7; Brazil, 16.1; India, 14.4; China, 11.6; and Egypt, 11.2.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 October 2003

[accessed 15 December 2010]

[76] While noting the serious efforts undertaken by the State party to prevent child trafficking, the Committee is deeply concerned at the very high incidence of trafficking in children for the purposes of sexual exploitation, bonded labor and use as camel jockeys.

Human Rights Overview

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation - Pakistan

Coalition Against Trafficking in Women

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Auctions of girls are arranged for three kinds of buyers: rich visiting Arabs (sheiks, businessmen, visitors, state-financed medical and university students), the rich local gentry, and rural farmers. (CATW - Asia Pacific "Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific".


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 10 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Although no accurate statistics on trafficking existed, the country was a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked persons. Women and girls were trafficked from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Burma, Nepal, and Central Asia for forced commercial sexual exploitation and bonded labor in the country based on erroneous promises of legitimate jobs. In a similar fashion, men and women were trafficked from the country to the Middle East to work as bonded laborers or in domestic servitude. Upon arrival, both groups had passports confiscated and were forced to work to pay off their transportation debt. Families continued to sell young boys between ages 3 and 10 for use as camel jockeys in Middle Eastern countries, and authorities estimated that there were between two to three thousand child citizens in the UAE being used as camel jockeys. Women and children from rural areas were trafficked to urban centers for commercial sexual exploitation and labor. In some cases families sold these victims into servitude, while in other cases they were kidnapped. Women were trafficked from East Asian countries and Bangladesh to the Middle East via the country. Traffickers bribed police and immigration officials to facilitate passage. During the year authorities prosecuted governmental officers and arrested FIA inspectors. A complete tally of such actions was not available.

The Department of Labor's 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 15 December 2010]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Pakistan is a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking victims. Girls are trafficked into Pakistan, primarily from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Burma, Nepal, and Central Asia, for the purposes of sexual exploitation and bonded labor. Girls are also trafficked internally for commercial sexual exploitation and other types of exploitative labor. Boys studying at local madrassas (Islamic theological schools) are recruited, often forcibly, as child soldiers to fight with Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Kashmir. Bangladeshi boys trafficked to Pakistan often work in manufacturing and sweatshops. Although boys continue to be trafficked from Pakistan to Gulf countries to serves as camel jockeys, more stringent enforcement efforts by authorities in both regions appear to have reduced the numbers

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