ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has arranged the first ever public private conference on human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The conference has been arranged in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) of Pakistan.
This conference was organised with the growing influx of irregular migration from Pakistan in mind, and forms a part of the UNODC’s continued support for the Government of Pakistan in addressing these and related challenges.
A number of senior government officials, law enforcement officers, members of civil society, multinational organisations, NGOs, media and other UN agencies attended the conference in order to share their organisational perspectives on how to develop common solutions in the struggle to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
By holding this landmark event with multi-stakeholders, the UNODC aims to identify the role each organisation can play in raising public awareness on the dangers associated with these illegal activities.
The conference was opened with remarks from the UNODC’s Pakistan Country Representative, Mr Cesar Guedes. He welcomed the participants and expressed appreciation to civil society members, representatives from multinational companies and both government and UN officials for their understanding of this issue’s urgency. Mr Guedes emphasised the need for immediate attention from the private sector to assist multilateral efforts in meeting the challenge of human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
The Additional Director of General Immigration from the FIA, Mr Walid Zia, also spoke about the importance of the issue while sharing the significant challenges that Pakistan faces in this area. Mr Zia shared his firm commitment to deal with the issue and stated that the government is fully committed to meeting its international obligations by developing effective solutions to contribute to the global fight against this scourge.
Afterwards, the importance of public-private partnerships in raising public awareness was discussed with the participants. This discussion was aided by the screening of a short documentary, highlighting the current challenges related to the subject.
Many participants expressed support for regular dialogue between private and public partners in order to facilitate the informal exchange of information and experiences in combating this criminal enterprise. In addition, the participants encouraged private organisations to assist government institutions in raising awareness and they urged the FIA to publish more in-depth information related to the subject on its website so that it may be more easily accessible to both private actors and the public at large.
Based on the positive results of this conference, the UNODC aims to conduct a national awareness raising campaign in collaboration with both public and private stakeholders beginning in early 2017. The conference itself was made possible by financial support from the Government of Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection, in addition to the US State Department.