SEX TRAFFICKING OF CHILDREN IN PAKISTAN
What is child trafficking?
The recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a child for the purpose of exploitation. What’s the problem?
GLOBAL SEX TRAFFICKING
Human trafficking is a complex phenomenon fueled by the tremendous growth in the global sex market. Exploitation is driven by poverty, uneven development, official corruption, gender discrimination, harmful traditional and cultural practices, civil unrest, natural disasters and lack of political will to end it. The number of child victims trafficked worldwide for sexual exploitation or cheap labour on an annual basis is 1.2 million.1 Human trafficking, the third largest international crime, following illegal drugs and arms trafficking, is believed to be worth billions of dollars each year. Driving the trade is the demand for commercial sexual exploitation. Seventy-nine per cent of all global trafficking is for sexual exploitation.2
Forced marriages are generally made because of family pride, the wishes of the parents, or social obligation. In much of Pakistan, marriage clearly is imposed on women against their will. Those brave enough to complain to the courts or run from their homes are hunted down by their families and forced to return or, all too frequently, murdered to restore a distorted sense of honour. The police usually turn a blind eye. Vanni, an ancient tribal practice in which feuding clans settle their differences by exchanging women for marriage, is illegal in Pakistan. The United Nations views forced marriage as a form of human rights abuse, since it violates the principle of the freedom and autonomy of individuals. They settle disputes, restore honor, win forgiveness, and turn mostly minor girls—some as young as 5 years old—into servant-mistresses. Tribal jirgas, or assemblies, order the unions. One girl above the age of 7 or two girls younger than that are an acceptable compensation for, say, murder. The girls become the...
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