ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the Migrant Resource Centre, a project of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Pakistan, jointly organized a cycling rally on Friday in Islamabad to mark World Anti-Human Trafficking Day and raise awareness on the crime of human trafficking including bonded labor.
This cycling rally brought together representatives from the FIA, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, Foreign Missions and ICMPD to convey a collective message on the need to fight against human trafficking.
Over 45 persons joined the rally which started at the FIA Academy and finished at Trail 5 of the Margalla Hills.
Combatting human trafficking in Pakistan is a priority for the Government of Pakistan given that it is a source, transit and destination country for victims of trafficking. Within the FIA, the Anti Human Smuggling and Trafficking units as well as the Cyber Crimes Unit are actively involved in the fight against human trafficking. The widespread use of the internet and digital platforms has provided human traffickers additional tools to prey on, lure, recruit and control victims with greater speed, less cost and anonymity.
The cycling rally is one of many activities organized by the Migrant Resource Centres in Pakistan to mark World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. The planned activities are aimed at raising awareness on the suffering faced by victims of trafficking, the use and abuse of technology by human traffickers to trap vulnerable individuals and strategies adopted by government authorities to counter human trafficking and support victims of human trafficking.
While addressing to the participants of the rally, the Director Training FIA Dr. Ather Waheed said that Human traffickers’ profit from peoples’ hopes and despair. They prey on the vulnerable and rob them of their fundamental rights. Human trafficking is a continual and permanent violation of rights.
The Danish Ambassador to Pakistan Her Excellency Lis Rosenholm highlighted the importance of awareness raising on migration related issues and stated that human trafficking is a crime against the whole of humanity; it is both a cause and consequence of serious violation of human rights – specifically for women and children.
Her Excellency Lis Rosenholm added that this battle cannot be fought alone and that it is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all from individual families to the worldwide community by implementing sustainable, rights-based border management practices towards increasing border management and security to combat irregular migration and trafficking.
Thanking the cyclists, the FIA and the Danish Embassy, the Country Coordination for ICMPD Raana Rahim in Pakistan stressed the importance of promoting safe and regular migration.
Raana Rahim said that Pakistan is one of the largest labour sending countries in the region. Since the mid 70’s over 11 million Pakistan has sent over 11 million Pakistanis, through the formal channels, for employment abroad.
Given that the promotion of labour migration is an important development strategy for the Government of Pakistan both as an avenue for reducing unemployment and poverty, it is critical that aspiring migrants have access to easy, timely and accurate information.