Why Punjab is the largest victim of Human Trafficking in Pakistan?

By: Rukhshinda Baig - Legislative Intern SSDO

When we talk about Pakistan, Punjab takes leading role in everything whether it is a population or literary rate. Lahore is the city of culture and if you haven’t being to Lahore, you are not born yet! This is a fun fact! But, things are shady when it is about Human Trafficking. Now, Punjab is defamed for Human Trafficking rings.

According to FIA data analysis report, only in the month of January 2017, 204 people become victim of Human Trafficking from Islamabad, 262 from Lahore, 36 from Sialkot, 39 from Multan, and 4 from Faisalabad. In response to this, FIA arrested the most wanted human trafficker in April 2017. Siraj Khan was a resident of Rawalpindi and was operating an illegal recruitment firm in the city where he would extort large sums of money from people by falsely promising them employment opportunities abroad. Over the years he extorted hundreds of thousands of rupees from several people. The name of Siraj Khan was already included in the Red Book of the FIA. The book includes details of all the most wanted human traffickers and smugglers. It is updated and published on FIA’s website regularly.

The most interesting fact here is that in Punjab the culture of show-off breeds the desire in the minds of people to go abroad and earn money in dollars. The number of success stories are circulating in the cities of Punjab that promote and motivate people to go for adventures in new lands. For instance, there was a teenage boy named, M. Adil, his family decides to send him abroad to change the fate of his poor family. The family gave money to the travel agent and that agent fraud him with documents and false promises of Working and education opportunities. After reaching there, he was sold into slavery and then this pass on. Somehow, he escaped from those people and got into the hands of the police. He narrates his whole story that his family is poor and how he was fraud into slavery. Thus, on humanitarian basis he was adopted by a family in UK and this family is now educating him and government is giving aid to him. When this story spreads in Pakistan. It gives new motivation to poor people to send their kids willing into such Human smuggling.

The statistics is saying it all, According to the Global Slavery Index, 38.8 percent of Pakistan’s families live below the poverty line, currently standing at a figure of 3186000, with one in four individuals living in acute poverty. With the annual per capita household income in Pakistan at 650.644 USD, the rate of inflation has an upward slope at a rate of 5 percent. Under these circumstances, survival becomes very difficult for poor families who are forced to send children, from young ages, to work, setting them on the path to exploitation and trafficking.

On the other hand, i