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Pakistan’s ranking for human trafficking rises as US removes it from its “watchlist”

Pakistan remained on Tier 2 according to the US State Department’s 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, but was given a higher ranking after being removed from the “watchlist.”

At a ceremony at the State Department, the report was introduced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. TIP demands action against domestic human trafficking. Governments that do not completely comply with the minimal requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act for the eradication of trafficking but are making considerable efforts to do so are classified as Tier 2 countries.

On the country trafficking scale, Pakistan is still in Tier 2, but it is no longer on the “watchlist,” meaning sanctions will be imposed if there isn’t any more progress and Tier 2 would be reduced to Tier 3.

The reporter said, “The [Pakistan] government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore, Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2.”

According to the report, these efforts included escalating inquiries, charges, and convictions, including escalating inquiries and charges under the 2018 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (PTPA).

“More victims were referred by the government for protective services. “More stakeholders were taught, and the provincial ministries of the government boosted the use of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on victim identification and referral,” it stated.

This is an improvement over last year when the government of Pakistan was said to be making substantial efforts to eradicate trafficking but does not entirely fulfill the basic standards.

The Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list, which identifies nations with government-backed armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers, has also been updated to remove Pakistan. This designation could lead to limitations on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.

A recent report from the HRCP, however, presented a sombre picture of women trafficking in the nation. The report highlighted Pakistan as a source, transit country, and destination for human trafficking, highlighting the risk that women, especially those who are economically poor, face.

Every year, numerous women are abducted all around the nation. Unfortunately, the issue receives little attention, which has allowed trafficking networks to flourish and compel women into forced begging, forced marriage, child labor, and bonded labor.

Although the government developed a thorough National Action Plan to combat human trafficking last year, not much has changed.

Due to its limited capacity and resources, the FIA is under pressure to meet the plan’s objectives and has thus far failed to do so.

The inability of the various law enforcement authorities to work together, the lack of accurate data on trafficking, and the ineffective enforcement of anti-trafficking laws have all made it more difficult to successfully combat the issue.

The government’s apathetic stance on the matter is concerning because nearly half of Pakistan’s population are women, many of whom are at risk of traffickers.

Due to a lack of protection and widespread knowledge within society, even women who have been rescued from trafficking networks run the risk of becoming victims again.

Mahnur Mehfooz
Written By

Mahnur is MS(development Studies)Student at NUST University, completed BS Hons in Eng Literature. Content Writer, Policy analyst, Climate Change specialist, Teacher, HR Recruiter.

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