Rise in trafficking – 12 Sep 2022

Smugglers take as high as Rs500,000 to squeeze a single person through the border or trekking

Pakistan’s deteriorating socio-economic conditions have given rise to a new wicked problem that has been rapidly evolving. Due to the twin crises of rising inflation and unemployment, a large number of citizens are crossing borders illegally and undocumented, with many ending up with racketeers and smugglers who make a living by exploiting poverty.

According to reports, smugglers take as high as Rs500,000 to squeeze a single person through the border or trekking through mountainous terrains towards the ‘promises land’ of Europe. In hopes of achieving a better life, people leave their families behind and put themselves in a vulnerable position where they can be caught by gangs, thugs or even LEAs. Joined with this is the issue of human trafficking, where kidnapped children or women are smuggled through specific routes out of the country. Instances have also surfaced where security officials work in collaboration with smugglers as bribery is also rampant. While many believe that bolstering security and checking at borders along with punishing perpetrators will help curtail the issue, it is not the ultimate solution and just a remedial measure. The heart of the issue lies in the standard of living that Pakistan has to offer. Deplorably low living indices, deteriorating civic infrastructure and services, lack of healthcare, and miserably low job opportunities are forcing people to resort to extreme measures.

Citizens must be promised and delivered development, so that daily life becomes less of a struggle for survival. The recent monsoon calamity will add fuel to fire as millions have been displaced and their homes wiped away. They too will be looking for suitable alternatives. The government must realise that such problems cannot be resolved through an iron hand as only steady development and delivery of long held promises will ease the suffering of the masses.

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