ISLAMABAD    -   Pakistan Monday said that it was committed to combat human trafficking as well as human smuggling and has enacted two important laws on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants last year to help address this menace.

Addressing the Regional Conference on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM) here at a local hotel; Ahmed Mukkarram, Additional Director General Immigration of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), said in his opening remarks that “committed to implementing FIA’s mandate to combat trafficking and smuggling, we have taken concrete steps which include the enactment of laws on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in May 2018.”

The other steps include the significant restructuring of the agency, leading to the establishment of several new anti-human trafficking circles across Pakistan, he added. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), under the framework of the Global Action to Prevent and Address Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants in Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT – Asia and the Middle East), is organizing a two day(16-17 September 2019) regional conference to combat trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants.

GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East is a four-year (2018-2022) joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and UNODC implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in five countries in the region of Asia and Middle East, including Pakistan. The project reaffirms that combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling is of the highest importance for the EU and the United Nations as a whole, said a statement issued by the UNODC in Islamabad. Jeremy Milsom, Representative, UNODC Pakistan, welcomed the guests of the conference and informed the audience that, “Increased cooperation among agencies at local and provincial level has led to an increase in the number of prosecutions and arrest of traffickers and smugglers.” New partners, such as the Pakistan Railways Police, identified during the implementation of GLO.ACT play an important role in controlling internal trafficking issues in Pakistan, he said.

Highlighting the importance of civil society, Anne Marchal, Chargé d’Affaires a.i., Delegation of the European Union to Pakistan, said, “International organizations, NGOs, civil society, and relevant agencies should also play their part in supporting national efforts to combat trafficking in human beings and migrant smuggling.”

She said that the EU stands ready to continue its unwavering support to these efforts, which have been exemplified through the truly outstanding work carried out by GLO.ACT and its partner countries and the considerable progress which has been and will be made in eradicating and preventing these crimes.

Delegates from Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Nepal travelled to Pakistan to attend the conference. Representatives from several embassies and high commissions, UN Agencies, international/national organizations, civil society, private corporations and senior government officials from provincial police departments, Pakistan Railways Police, provincial line departments, and academia participated to reiterate their commitment towards combating trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.