Stating that the Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, the US downgraded the south Asian country to the ‘Tier 2 Watch List’ on the country trafficking scale.
The crucial US State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for the year 2020 was published by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday.
"The Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so," the report said.
" The government significantly decreased investigations and prosecutions of sex traffickers, and Punjab province, where over half of the population resides, continued to disproportionately report nearly all antitrafficking law enforcement efforts, including 98 percent of convictions. As in previous years, only two of Pakistan’s six provinces convicted any traffickers. Law enforcement efforts against labor trafficking remained inadequate compared to the scale of the problem," said the report.
" Unlike the previous reporting period, the government did not take action against credible reports of official complicity in trafficking, and organizations reported official complicity and corruption led to several high-profile trafficking cases being dropped during the year. The government continued to lack overall adequate resources for victim care, and only referred four percent of all victims identified to care," it said.
Highlighting the condition of women, children and minorities in the country, the report said: " Reports estimate more than 70 percent of bonded laborers in Pakistan are children. Traffickers also target lower-caste Hindus, Christians, and Muslims specifically for forced and bonded labor."
" Pakistan is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor—particularly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Chinese men working in construction may be vulnerable to forced labor in Pakistan.
Traffickers exploit women and girls—and, to a lesser extent, boys—from Afghanistan, Iran, and other Asian countries in sex trafficking in Pakistan," it said.