Human trafficking is an issue in Pakistan as it is a destination and transit country for the trafficking of women and children from countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal, primarily for the purpose of forced labor and sex work (United States Department of State 2009). It has also adopted the National Action Plan for Combating Human Trafficking (2006) and a number of international protocols, such as the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children and the Protocol Against the smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea, but has yet to sign any of these.
The country’s largest internal human trafficking problem is bonded labour. This practice tends to be concentrated in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab where bonded workers continue to be employed for work in brick kilns, carpet making, agriculture, fishing, mining, leather tanning, and the production of glass bangles (UNDP 2010). Many impoverished families send their children to work in cities or abroad for immediate economic relief, and child trafficking persists in rural areas (ILO 2010). Also, many Pakistani girls are reportedly trafficked to Western Asia for sexual exploitation (United States Department of State 2010).4
4 Precise data to support this are currently unavailable.