rawalpindi-The Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) proposed immediate legislation on human trafficking and smuggling in Pakistan, focusing on the victim protection mechanism.

Pakistan is ranked on the Tier 2 watch list of United States Department of States Trafficking in Persons Report which is quiet alarming as the country can be downgraded to Tier 3 if the government fails to take some serious steps to address the issue of human trafficking through affective legislation. Cases of human trafficking and smuggling are increasing manifold and traffickers and smugglers are looting innocent people by bribing them with hopes of moving to foreign countries, but through illegal means.

Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director of Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) while talking to media on Friday said that Pakistan does not have effective legislation on human trafficking and smuggling issues which marks the credibility of the country in terms of addressing the issues of human trafficking and smuggling. The Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002 only covers the trafficking issues with limited scope and the recent proposed bill covers smuggling issues but the bill lacks the international standards of addressing the issues related to trafficking and smuggling.

There is a need to review the bill and hold the consultative sessions with the relevant experts and stake holders who can address the issues in the proposed bill.

Nafeesa Inayat Khattak, Member National Assembly said that the victim protection mechanism is missing in both the laws including 2002 Human Trafficking Ordinance and the recent proposed bill related to human smuggling. The government needs to include the protection mechanism in the bill that will provide relief to the victims who were trafficked or smuggled by the traffickers and smugglers. The 16 years old ordinance on human trafficking has not yet been affectively implemented by the relevant government agencies including Federal Investigative Agency (FIA).  The ordinance on Human Trafficking also needs to be presented in the assembly and discussed on the floor of house to get the views of civil society and relevant experts who can give input to improve the legislation on human trafficking and smuggling in the country.

Farhan Naveed an expert on Human Trafficking and Smuggling said that the recent proposed bill on Human Smuggling and the previous ordinance on Human Trafficking only cover the cross border human trafficking issues but the internal trafficking component remains missing in the bill that needs to be addressed by the government to counter the internal and external trafficking in Pakistan.