Firm action against traffickers



IN an unfortunate incident, at least 59 migrants, including 28 Pakistanis, died after their overloaded boat sank early on Sunday in stormy seas off Italy’s southern Calabria region. According to the Pakistani embassy in Rome besides others, 40 Pakistanis were on board the ill-fated boat.

Such incidents have become more frequent in recent years which is an indication that illegal immigration is on the rise. Italy is one of the main landing points for migrants trying to enter Europe by sea, with many seeking to travel on to richer northern European nations. The so-called central Mediterranean route is known as one of the world’s most dangerous. The United Nations Missing Migrants Project has registered more than 17,000 deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean since 2014. More than 220 have died or disappeared this year. In spite of all the loud public statements for the sanctity of human rights and the dignity of human beings, flesh-trade remains uncontrolled; which shows that there is a denial of all the moral declarations of development and equality. In the world, human beings in general, and women and children in particular, are bought and sold to cater a variety of needs: sex slavery, prostitution, legal and illegal labour and marriages, bonded labour, camel jockeys, baby farms, adoption and entertainment. Criminal networks continue to profit from migrants smuggling. Since human trafficking is an international phenomenon, this warrants a well-coordinated and firm action against the human traffickers who play with the lives of innocent people.

In the context of Pakistan, the problem of human trade and trafficking is multi-dimensional in nature and needs to be addressed on various fronts. The victims of trafficking are either lured by better job prospects, or kidnapped. In some cases, women and children are sold by their parents, guardians and husbands. Sometimes girls are sold after fake marriages, or deceived into illegal cross-border migration. Human traffickers use both frequented and unfrequented routes along the 900-kilometre-long porous Pak-Iran border to transport the illegal immigrants to Iran and then onward destinations to Turkey and the European countries.  Through better border management/coordination, this menace can be effectively tackled and the deaths that occur in Italy can be averted. Apart from raising awareness at the community about the hazards of illegal immigration, there is also need to create job opportunities within the country so that nobody could exploit the poor people.