ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Wednesday unanimously passed the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Bill aimed at introducing measures to prevent and combat human trafficking, especially of women and children.
The bill was piloted by Minister of State for Maritime Affairs Chaudhary Jaffar Iqbal on behalf of the interior minister.
The bill aims to introduce effective measures to prevent and combat trafficking of women and children, to promote and facilitate national and international cooperation in this regard, to protect the trafficking victims and to provide assistance over related matters.
The objective of the act is to target criminals who exploit desperate people and to protect and assist victims of trafficking, many of whom endure unimaginable hardships in their bid for a better life.
While trafficking in persons may involve men and women of any age, the specific reference to ‘women and children’ highlights the fact that women and children are especially vulnerable to trafficking. The bill seeks to achieve the aforesaid objective.
The bill imposes tough imprisonment terms and fines on individuals found to be involved in human trafficking. The bill provides for more tough punishments in case the victims are women and children.
“Any person who commits an offence of trafficking in person shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to seven years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or with both,” the bill said. The bill further reads, “If the offence of trafficking is committed against a child or a woman, the person who commits the offence shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years and which shall not be less than two years or with fine which may extend to one million rupees or with both.”
The bill says that police will investigate cases of domestic trafficking and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) will probe the case if “transportation of the victim is into or out of Pakistan.