THERE is no doubt that rampant poverty, unemployment and a bleak future stare young Pakistanis in the face. The situation invariably provides a breeding ground for human trafficking. With a constant increase in poverty and an absence of job opportunities for the youth, the scourge has spread its tentacles all over the country. A newspaper report pointing to the existence of a trafficking mafia, who cajoles the young men into leaving the country for a better life in Iran, where they are kidnapped and released only in exchange for heavy ransom, shows that the evil is quite active in Pakistan. The matter is also linked with the overall question of absence of rule of law and corruption in virtually every field of life. The pity is that such agents are operating freely in the country and are not hard to find for those who are anxious to get out of the vicious circle of life in Pakistan. Little do the people know what awaits them, or perhaps the desperation to escape the horrors of a miserable life persuades them to pay huge sums to the agents while ignoring the dangers to their life. And the fate of would-be immigrants could well be similar to the 64 persons who died through suffocation while shipped to Iran in 1998. Those who make it to their destinations are either kidnapped by the traffickers themselves, as revealed by the report, or have to face exploitative conditions. Under the circumstances, the government must leave no stone unturned to quash the rings of human smugglers. There is no doubt that the menace is well established throughout the Third World and remains quite powerful in Pakistan. Yet, firm action with commitment could put end to the tragedy. An awareness campaign informing the public to stay away from such agents would also help a lot. However, at the end of the day, the government would have to address the problem of poverty and unemployment that is causing hopelessness among the people and driving them out of the country.