Around 400,000 Pakistani migrants have been deported from different countries of the world in seven years, with the number of these deportations on a rise in the recent years, a United Nations document reveals.
Precisely, 391,098 is the exact number of Pakistanis who have been deported back to the homeland from 2007 to 2013, it suggests.
The research report titled “The socioeconomic impact of human trafficking and migrant smuggling in Pakistan” released on Thursday by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says that a record number of 66,427 Pakistanis were deported back in the year 2013 compared to 54,257 in 2012 and 53,868 in 2011. In 2010, the recorded number of deported Pakistanis was 46,032 whereas in the year 2009 as many as 52,005 Pakistanis were deported, compared to 61,364 in 2008 and 57,145 in 2007.
The 50page document that mainly relies on the statistics provided by Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), terms Pakistan a “source, transit and a destination country for human trafficking and migrant smuggling”. Pakistan has faced numerous economic, social and security challenges since 2007. These combined factors, as a matter of an acute concern for the law enforcement agencies, provide the ideal environment for transnational organised crime networks to flourish and exploit weaknesses in the system, the report says.
“The impact is not limited solely to the human costs relating to the extreme suffering and dehumanisation of the individuals who are trafficked but also poses serious governance risks within the wider region. This has a direct detrimental effect on the state structures arrayed against corruption and organised crime. It also poses a threat to the economic development of the country,” the report notes.
According to the document, the problem manifests itself within the country and across borders. “In Pakistan, Sindh and Punjab remain a source of concern with high instances of bonded labour in agriculture, brick making and other industries.”
The report cites the data from FIA to say that in addition to the porous borders Pakistan shares with its neighbours, some of the major challenges to law enforcement agencies include the lack of capacity building initiatives, poor infrastructure, limited resources, ineffective liaison among LEAs and lack of crossborder intelligence and informationsharing.
The UNODC report also cites the findings of its previously published Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, which estimates the existence of 460 distinctive trafficking routes between 2007 and 2010. “Pakistanis have largely been detected while illegally entering Iran, Turkey, Greece, Oman and Spain.”
Some major routes for human trafficking are i) PakistanIranOmanUnited Arab Emirates (UAE) ii) PakistanIranTurkeyGreece and iii) PakistanMiddle EastWest AfricaSpain. The UAE, Greece and Spain have been observed to be the most popular destination countries, whereas Iran, Turkey and Oman serve as transit countries on these routes, the report says. “It has also been previously observed that these countries are returning more than a third of the total deportees since 2010.”
The overall figures suggest that deportation of Pakistani nationals from these countries is increasing, says the document. “The total was lowest at the beginning of the time frame with 12,343 people returning in 2007 and the highest in 2011 with 23,196 being detected. The total increase experienced from 2007 to 2013 is 18 per cent.”
The UNODC document also says that in response to migrant smuggling and human trafficking issues, Pakistan has taken important steps in developing strategies to combat these crimes and protect the rights of victims. In 2002, the Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO) was enacted. This was followed by the development of a National Action Plan for Combating Human Trafficking, as well as establishment of Antihuman Trafficking Units (AHTUs) and Circles under the jurisdiction of the FIA.