Afghanistan continues to be a source, transit and destination country for men, women and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking, according to the latest report from the U.S. government.
The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report rates 188 countries across the globe on their efforts to combat human trafficking.
Afghanistan has been put in Tier 2 Watch List and majority of victims are believed to be children.
“Afghanistan is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking,” says the report.
The majority of trafficking victims, the report claims, are children “who end up in carpet making and brick factories, domestic servitude, commercial sexual exploitation, begging, transnational drug smuggling, and assistant truck driving within Afghanistan, as well as in the Middle East, Europe, and South Asia”.
The report states that Afghan children are subjected to forced labor in Iran, and Afghan girls are forced into prostitution in Pakistan.
The report also blasts the complicity of government officials and security forces in human trafficking in Afghanistan.
“Some Afghan families knowingly sell their children into prostitution, including for bacha baazi—where men, sometimes including government officials and security forces, use young boys for social and sexual entertainment,” the report reads.
While the report appreciates the Afghan government for increased conviction of offenders under the trafficking law, it says “the government’s prosecution and victim protection efforts remained inadequate.”
Terming official complicity a grave problem, it urges the government to increase prosecutions and convictions and stop penalization of victims.
“It is a battle against money. It is a battle against evil. It is remarkable that in 2015 we face a modern-day version of slavery,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Citing a report by Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, the report says the majority of people who engage in bacha bazi shell out bribes or have relationships with prosecutors and judges to evade legal action.
“It is a battle against money. It is a battle against evil. It is remarkable that in 2015 we face a modern-day version of slavery,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The purpose of the report, he stressed, is to “enlighten and to energize and most importantly to empower people”.
“By issuing it, we want to bring to the public’s attention the full nature and scope of the 150 billion USD illicit trafficking industry and it is an industry,” he said.
According to the report, Cuba, Kenya and Saudi Arabia have made indefatigable efforts to fight human trafficking while Egypt, Ghana and Bulgaria have not done enough to battle the scourge.
Afghanistan is the second biggest country after Syria with over 5 million migrants living across the world. Most of them are exploited by human traffickers.
Human rights activists have urged the government to raise awareness about the perils of human trafficking, support victims and prosecute perpetrators.
Iran and Pakistan are the two countries that host majority of Afghan migrants, and according to sources they are exploited for forced labor, prostitution, and many other illegal activities.
Human trafficking constitutes a serious crime in international humanitarian doctrines and involves acquisition of people by improper means such as force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them.
According to United Nations, more than 12.5 million people are being trafficked for different reasons every year, and human traffickers make 32 billion USD through it
The lack of employment opportunities and uncertainty prevailing on the ground has forced thousands of people to leave the country by illegal means.
To exploit the situation, human traffickers have helped many of them escape to other countries through porous borders.
According to United Nations, more than 12.5 million people are being trafficked for different reasons every year, and human traffickers make 32 billion USD through it.
The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, adopted by General Assembly in November 2000, is the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime.
President Ashraf Ghani, in his televised address on the World Refugee Day recently, said the Afghan government is taking all measures to ensure that no Afghan is forced to leave the country and settle abroad as refugees.
President Ghani said more than six million refugees have returned home over the past 15 years, but millions of others still lives as refugees in different parts of the world.
Speaking about the Afghan refugees living in Iran and Pakistan, President Ghani said they make up about 95 percent of all Afghan refugees scattered across the world.
In the past six months of the current year, President Ghani said, 42,000 Afghans have returned home. “These figures show that the repatriation rate has gone up manifold,” he said.
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26th Oct 2017
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