Tragic Sea Disaster Spurs Federal Agency into Action Against Human Trafficking in Pakistan

human traffiking from pakistan

In a response to the tragic shipwreck incident off the Greek coast that left 80 confirmed dead, including numerous Pakistani nationals, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has ramped up its efforts against human trafficking operations across Pakistan. The tragedy involved a fishing trawler en route to Italy, which reportedly carried over 800 passengers, many of whom were Pakistanis. Authorities have only managed to rescue 104 survivors so far. 

As the severity of the tragedy emerged, Pakistan declared a day of national mourning. In parallel, the Ministry of Interior has inaugurated a coordination cell to support the victims’ families. The cell’s mandate involves validating information regarding the boat’s passengers from their relatives. Furthermore, it will provide help in collecting DNA samples in line with requirements laid down by the Pakistani Embassy in Greece. 

The interior minister announced that specific legislation would be passed to punish those involved in human trafficking, as the FIA undertook nationwide crackdowns on smuggling networks. 

The FIA spokesperson has revealed that specialist teams are operating in major cities across the country, targeting human traffickers. Three investigations have been initiated to examine the involvement of Pakistani smuggling networks in the tragic incident, and six cases have been registered. According to the FIA, they have detained more than five individuals involved in trafficking from Gujrat, Gujranwala, and Lahore and lodged cases against over 20 people. 

The FIA is also working on a preventive strategy to curb similar incidents in the future, in collaboration with institutions part of the inter-agency task force. In Gujrat, the primary suspects involved in illegal human trafficking have been found to operate from Libya, leveraging local facilitators or ‘sub-agents’. It has been reported that some of these agents are local jewelers previously involved in financial transactions for overseas agents. 

Read More: Pakistan Appoints Investigative Committee to Scrutinize Migrant Tragedy off Greek Coast

Despite these efforts, the FIA has faced difficulties in their investigations due to lack of trust from the victim’s families, as past cases have seen traffickers released due to insufficient investigations. 

On a more distressing note, at least 50 people who had left for Europe via illegal channels are still missing. Their families fear they were aboard the ill-fated vessel. Efforts to identify the Pakistani victims through DNA testing have kept these families in limbo. 

The tragedy also reverberated within the parliamentary chambers of Pakistan. Lawmakers from different parties echoed the need for decisive action against human trafficking and emphasized the role of educating people about the dangers of illegal immigration. 

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan also issued a statement calling for more robust anti-trafficking legislation and training for public officials to effectively identify, report, and hold traffickers accountable for their crimes. It suggested that better coordination among law enforcement agencies could prevent such tragic incidents in the future. 

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