Islamabad, Feb 12: The results of Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) countrywide special crackdown on human smugglers and traffickers have proved encouraging as 3,446 such accused have been arrested in almost three years.
The agency, making hectic efforts for identifying agents, facilitators and masterminds of illegal immigrants and rackets involved in such heinous crimes, initiated the special campaign since November 2015. Sources at the Interior Division while listing the 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.
The sources said second-check counters have been established to thoroughly examine traveling documents and officers, having experience and good competency, are deputed there. Moreover, the sources said 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 advance technology like Integrated Border Management System (IBMS) at all the FIA immigration check-posts and entry/exit points. The other steps are usage of Edison system for forgery detection, UV light, magnifying glass, scanners and CCTV cameras. The sources said the FIA staff can verify travel history of passengers from IBMS and compare a passenger with live picture in system in case of any doubt of impersonation.
At the institutional level, the sources said 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/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, especially on the Pak-Iran border.
The increased coordination between IATF member agencies has resulted in 17,647 interceptions in the last three years. At the policy level, zero tolerance policy was 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 POs.
The sources said in order to coordinate national efforts against human trafficking and illegal migration, National Action Plan was adopted and strategic Framework (2016-2020) was prepared with the help of United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and all stakeholders.
Two UNODC Model Laws i.e. an Act to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, especially women and children and an Act to combat smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air, trafficking in persons bill-2016 i.e. are under consideration with Ministry of Interior and the Parliament.
Regarding international cooperation, the sources said FIA actively participated in bilateral/multilateral group meetings. Mass Awareness campaign was also launched with help of NGOs, media and UNODC.
While, with help of UNODC police trainings are being conducted to sensitize police and increase awareness on issues related to human trafficking and migrant smuggling amongst civil society.
Published by Daily The News on Feb 12, 2018