8,360 human traffickers netted in five years


ISLAMABAD: The results of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) countrywide special crackdown on human smugglers and traffickers have proved quite encouraging as 8360 such accused have been arrested in almost five years.

The Agency, making hectic efforts for identifying agents, facilitators and masterminds of illegal immigrants and rackets involved in such heinous crimes, initiated special campaign since 2014.

Sources at the Interior Division while listing steps being taken to curb human trafficking on Sunday said these included at immigration check-posts profiling of passengers as per SOPs and proper off-loading of passengers on incomplete documents after proper screening and detention and arrest of passengers on fake/forged documents.

As per year-wise details, the sources said during 2014, FIA arrested 785 human smugglers and traffickers, 1,095 in 2015, 1,604 in 2,016, 2,201 in 2017 and 2,675 human smugglers and traffickers were nabbed during 2018.

Thanks to continuous campaigns, the number of arrests of human smugglers and traffickers was increasing with each passing year. The sources said second-check counters have been established to thoroughly examine travelling documents and officers, having experience and good competency, are deputed there.

Moreover, training sessions by foreign Immigration Liaison experts are also arranged regularly for capacity building of FIA immigration officers, who also make use of online visa verification links for validation of visas.

Highlighting the steps regarding human intelligence, the sources quoted the use of advanced technology like the Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) at all the FIA immigration check-posts and entry/exit points.

The other steps are the usage of the Edison system for forgery detection, UV light, magnifying glass, scanners and CCTV cameras.

The FIA staff can verify the travel history of passengers from IBMS and compare a passenger with a live picture in the system in case of any doubt of impersonation.

At the institutional level, the sources said the establishment of Anti-Human Trafficking Circles and police stations in five FIA zonal directorates have been ensured to investigate and prosecute illegal migrants and travellers.

Research and Analysis Centre has been established at FIA Headquarters for thrashing out the latest trends and routes being adopted by human smugglers and

traffickers while round-the-clock FIA helpline has been introduced for complaints and support.

The FIA also ensured link/liaison office in Sultanate of Oman. The sources said to curb human trafficking through the porous border, the government of Pakistan has established an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to coordinate efforts of different agencies.

The increased coordination between IATF member agencies has resulted in 23,098 interceptions in the last five years.

The year-wise details showed that during 2014 IATF made 2,485 interceptions, 6650 in 2015, 8512 in 2016,1727 in 2017 and 3,724 interceptions were made during the year 2018.

At the policy level, zero tolerance policy is being ensured at all immigration check-posts, placement of names and particulars of human traffickers/smugglers in

Blacklist/Passport and Exit Control List, temporary blockage of CNIC of Proclaimed Offenders (Agents/Human Smugglers) and approaching head of Compliance of Banks for temporary blockage of bank accounts of Proclaimed Offenders (POs).

With the help of UNODC police training are being conducted to sensitize police and increase awareness on issues related to human trafficking and migrant smuggling amongst civil society.

Regarding international cooperation, the sources said FIA actively participated in bilateral/multilateral group meetings. A mass awareness campaign was also launched with the help of NGOs, media and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).