PAKISTAN: Situation analysis on trafficking of persons with disability for forced begging 

Dear friends,

We wish to share with you the following article from SPARC, written by Salam Dharejo,

Human Rights Commission
Hong Kong

An article from SPARC forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission

By Salam Dharejo

Keeping in view police operation against the gang of human traffickers involved in trafficking of disabled persons including with children to Iran. SPARC conducted a situation analysis in Khairpur and Shikarpur district to assess the nature and magnitude of crime. In this regard, fact find was carried out through conducting interviews with the victims and families, persons involved in the crime and police officers. The purpose of the fact finding was to investigate the case of trafficking of persons with disability including with children for forced beggary. A fact finding visit of Khairpur was held from February 14 to 16, 2011.

Following are the fact and figures:

On February 10: Khairpur Police responding to the call, immediately rushed to the spot and saved Sajad Chadar a 20 years old disable person who was being kidnapped by Mumtaz Ujan and Badaruddin Buledi the member of the gang that is involved in trafficking of persons with disability to Iran for forced Beggary.

Subsequently through a major crackdown, police have been succeed in arresting other members’ i.e Begoo, Deedar, Sarang, Laik, Abdul Wahab and Khadim, all Jafri by caste, belonging to district Shikarpur and Kumb and Tando Masti towns of Khairpur district. It is revealed that police is looking for Sarag Jafri the head of gang and involved in trafficking of disabled persons for forced beggary in Iran and other parts of gulf countries. “The accused have admitted that disabled persons are transported to Iran for beggary, the police have been informed that 200 to 300 disabled persons are trafficked where they are forced for beggary in front of mosques and shrines in Iran.” Stated by Khadim Hussain Rind, The District Police Officer, Khairpur.

Very next day to the police operation against human traffickers, 55 years old Lal Pari Gopang, the resident of Kumb Taluka of Kharipur, registered compliant against Begoo Jafri for the kidnapping of Raham Ali Gopan the 28 years old her disabled nephew. She told police that kidnappers have transported Raham Ali to Iran and they are demanding one hundred thousand rupees for his return. In a search operation police succeeded in arresting the Begoo, who admitted that Raham Ali has been transported to Iran and agreed to manage his recovery. Hence, within three days Raham Ali was reunited with the family.

Subsequently on 14 February in Tandoallahyar District: Police arrested three members i.e. Dhani Bux, Wakeel and Ms Sabhai and recovered four disabled persons that were being transported to Iran. Muneer Khuhro, the District Police Officer disclosed that arrested members belong to the same gang arrested in Khairpur.

Having an organized gang spread in all over the province, human traffickers use different methods for trafficking of disabled persons. Often, the trafficker after identification of disabled person develop link with their parents and lure them through offering lucrative package including with advance money. All the arrested persons have admitted that they were involved in the deal between Sarag the head of the gang and parents of the disabled persons. “I had settled deal with Lal Pari the aunty of Raham Ali and provided her 20000 in advance and promised to share the fifty percent of the amount earned through beggary. But after some time she started demanding more money that we were not able to pay her. Consequently, she approached to police and managed plot for my arrest.” Says Begoo Jafri, the arrested member of the gang. Similar was the statement of Baddarddin Lohar, who was arrested on spot when he was kidnapping Sajad Chadhar. “We met with the father of Sajad and offered him 10000 rupees in advance and convinced him that in Iran your son can earn more than the amount he earns here. After taking money, his father disappeared therefore; we tried to force Sajad to accompany us for travelling to Iran. We are the middleman; actually the main dealer is Sarag Jafri who manages transportation and accommodation in Iran and taken money of beggary.”

Trafficking in person is a global issue and without exception Pakistan is one of the countries that are used as a source, transit and destination point for victims of human trafficking. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that 2.4 million people were trafficked between 1995 and 2005. The Trafficking in Persons Report 2010 discloses that 12.3 million adults and children were trafficked in 2009, at a rate of 1.8 people per 1,000 worldwide. In 2007, the report stated that 800,000 people are trafficked across borders every year, of which about 80% are women and girls and up to 50% are children.

Every year thousands of men, women and children are trafficked from Pakistan to Gulf States and other parts of the world annually. Majority of the trafficked persons is used for the commercial sex exploitation and forced labour. According to the estimates of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) a total of 3434 illegal migrants were intercepted throughout the country in 2010 while in 2008 and 2009 the numbers were 10,703 and 5601 in 2009 respectively. While it is revealed by the FIA that more than 600 human traffickers are running their businesses in different parts of the country and are using air, land and sea routes for their activities. According to the Pakistan Thematic Group on Human Trafficking (PTGHT), the coastline between Karachi and Gwadar is frequently used for human trafficking to Gulf States.

According to the US department’s “Trafficking in Person report 2010”, during the year 2009, the government of Pakistan convicted 385 criminals under Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002 (PACHTO). In 2009, Pakistan reported 2,894 prosecutions and 166 convictions under the vagrancy ordinances and various penal code sections which authorities sometimes use to prosecute trafficking offenses; it is unclear how many of these prosecutions and convictions involved trafficking. It is confirmed that the government convicted at least three child traffickers; but it is unknown whether these convictions were for forced prostitution or labor and what the imposed penalties were. The government prosecuted at least 500 traffickers: 416 for sex trafficking, 33 for labor trafficking, and 51 for either sex or labor trafficking. Only one person was prosecuted under the Bonded Labor System Abolition Act, with no conviction. Unfortunately, despite of huge number of trafficking of disabled persons for forced beggary, neither the reference has been made in the US report nor the FIA has registered even a single case of trafficking of disabled persons for forced beggary.

Persons with disability are the world’s largest minority, around 10 per cent of the world’s population, or 650 million people, live with a disability. This figure is increasing through population growth, medical advances and the ageing process, says the World Health Organization (WHO). According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP), eighty per cent of persons with disabilities live in developing countries. In Pakistan disabled community is one of the most vulnerable segments of the society. In Pakistan’s population of 18 crore, soon to be 20 crore with the advent of 2011, approximately 1.6 crore are proclaimed to be disabled. Thus out of every dozen of people, one of them is living with disability. Despite of having social exclusion and economic deprivation, disabled persons are living in a state of extreme insecurity.

The news about the kidnappings of disabled persons has created fear and sense of insecurity among the disabled persons living in different parts of the province. In Saghar district some six month earlier, Dilber Khos a fifty year old disabled person was kidnapped from a city. “In the consequence of the incident almost all the disabled beggars disappeared for a long time in a fear of being kidnapped. Says Mumtaz Mangi, the president of All Saghar Handicaped Association (ASHA). Dilber Khoso was kidnapped by the gang belonging to Jafri caste a young girl was also accompanied with them. It was learnt that the group of traffickers was roaming in the city for many days. Recalling the incident, Dilber Khoso shared that “they offered him money and promised to marry with girl if he joins them. Thus they picked him and in a vehicle they offered something to eat so that he became unconscious. “I was transported to Iran by them and forced to beg in different cities. Incidentally, one day Iranian police raid the house all the persons slipped away and police after investigation transported me to Pakistan.”

The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people have some kind of disability, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged. In Pakistan persons with disability are not enjoying equal right due to the discriminated laws and apathetic social behavior that add more susceptibility to the lives of most vulnerable community. Two percent employment quota has been reserved for disable persons who constitute more than ten percent of the population. “We are deprived of quality education in mainstream institutions and forced to seek admission in separate institutions that are almost non functional. I was refused to be admitted in Degree College by principle because of disability.” Says Ghulam Nabi Nizamani, the secretary of Disabled Peoples’ International, Asia Pacific Region.

Poverty and lack of social protection exposes the disabled persons to the extreme vulnerability. Mujahid Shaikh, the 25 old disable persons was the member of a family that was living in a camp established for flood affected in Ranipur District Khairpur. He was kidnapped by Kashmir Jafri in the month of August 2010. “As for as safety is concerned, we disable persons are most vulnerable to the circumstance, having with disability we are not in a position to protect ourselves from kidnappers who are roaming around to catch.” Say Nizamani.

Mujahid Shaikh has managed to comeback and he has started begging at the railway crossing in Khairpur. But equally he is worried about the fate of other persons with disability who used to live with him in Iran. He puts hand in side pocket and shows some Iranian currency. “This is the only amount that I have put in my pocket once I was returned from Iran. The kidnappers are ruthless they even did not allow me to come back Pakistan to see the dead body of my mother. There are hundreds of persons with disability including with children living in custody of Jafri in Iran, help them to get release form the bondage” Mujahid Shaikh helplessly requested the police.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Document Type : Forwarded Article
Document ID : AHRC-FAT-011-2011
Countries : Pakistan,
Issues : Child rights, Enforced disappearances and abductions,