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Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation

Pakistan


Trafficking

There have been 1 million Bangladeshi and more than 200,000 Burmese women trafficked to Karachi, Pakistan. (Indrani Sinha, SANLAAP India, "Paper on Globalization & Human Rights")

200,000 Bangladeshi women have been trafficked to Pakistan for the slave trade and prostitution. (Trafficking in Women and Children: The Cases of Bangladesh, p.8, UBINIG, 1995)

200,000 Bangladeshi women were trafficked to Pakistan in the last ten years, continuing at the rate of 200-400 women monthly. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

In Pakistan, where most of trafficked Bengali women are sold there are about 1,500 Bengali women in jail and about 200,000 women and children sold into in the slave trade. (estimates by Human Rights organizations in Pakistan, Trafficking in Women and Children: The Cases of Bangladesh, p.14, UBINIG, 1995)

India and Pakistan are the main destinations for children under 16 who are trafficked in south Asia. (Masako Iijima, "S. Asia urged to unite against child prostitution," Reuters, 19 June 1998)

More than 150 women were trafficked to Pakistan every day between 1991 and 1993. (Indrani Sinha, SANLAAP India, "Paper on Globalization & Human Rights")

100 - 150 women are estimated to enter Pakistan illegally every day. Few ever return to their homes. ("Rights-South Asia: Slavery Still A Thriving Trade," IPS, 29 December 1997)

There are over 200,000 undocumented Bangladeshi women in Pakistan, including some 2,000 in jails and shelters. Bangladeshis comprise 80 percent, and Burmese 14 percent, of Karachi’s undocumented immigrants. (Zia Ahmed Awan, affiliate with Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid, Sindh police report in 1993, "Rights-South Asia: Slavery Still A Thriving Trade," IPS, 29 December 1997)

A Bengali or Burmese woman could be sold in Pakistan for US$1,500 - 2,500 - depending on age, looks, docility and virginity. For each child or woman sold, the police claim a 15 to 20 percent "commission." ("Rights-South Asia: Slavery Still A Thriving Trade," IPS, 29 December 1997)

Women kidnapped at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border are being sold in the marketplace for R600 per kilogram as of 1991. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Auctions of girls are arranged for three kinds of buyers: rich visiting Arabs (sheiks, businessmen, visitors, state-financed medical and university students), the rich local gentry, and rural farmers. (CATW - Asia Pacific "Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific" (19)

19,000 Pakistani children have been trafficked to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). 160,000 Nepalese women are in Indian brothels. (LHRLA, Indrani Sinha, SANLAAP India, "Paper on Globalization & Human Rights")

Orphaned girls are sold as ‘wives’ to men who may resell them (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Methods and Techniques of Traffickers

Bangladeshi and Burmese women are being kidnapped, married off to agents by unsuspecting parents, trafficked under false pretenses, or enticed by prospects of a better life, into brothels in Pakistan. Border police and other law enforcement agencies are well aware of the trafficking through entry points into Pakistan like Lahore, Kasur, Bahawalpur, Chhor and Badin. (Sindh police report in 1993, "Rights-South Asia: Slavery Still A Thriving Trade," IPS, 29 December 1997)

Nepalese and Bangladeshi woman and girls are trafficked under false pretenses, such as jobs, then are forced into prostitution in brothels in Pakistan. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

A rise in trafficking of girls, aged 8-15, in Pakistan has occurred during this last decade. (CATW - Asia Pacific, Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific)

Policy and Law

Trafficked women are further victimized by the police and the legal system, which treat them as criminals. The women are booked under Pakistan's controversial 'Hudood Ordinances.' The Zina Ordinance, which comes under the Islamic Hudood Ordinance, makes adultery or sex outside marriage a crime against the state. Women and girls in prostitution are often charged with Zina. Sometimes, they are booked under the Passport Act. Either way, they have to spend long periods in prison. For illegal immigration, the sentence is four years, but many women end up serving three or four years extra, either waiting for trial or to clear immigration formalities. (Nausheen Ahmed, "Rights-South Asia: Slavery Still A Thriving Trade," IPS, 29 December 1997)

The governments of Pakistan in the last 26 years have established three commissions of inquiry into the sexual exploitation of women. However, the government under Bhutto in the seventies, the Zia regime of the eighties and the present government have all disregarded the commission's recommendations. (Binoo Sen, National Commission for Women India, "Paper on Political Commitment")

Prostitution

Official Response and Action

A Pakistani military court will try two Pakistani soldiers, who organized a prostitution ring while with a United Nations mission in Haiti. ("Weekly News Update on the Americas," Issue #419, Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York, 8 February 1998)

Organized and Institutionalized Sexual Exploitation and Violence:

Arabs stationed for a short time in Pakistan take "temporary wives," abandoning the women and any children afterwards. (CATW - Asia Pacific "Trafficking in Women and Prostitution in the Asia Pacific" (22)

Case

A Pakistani woman was threatened with contempt of the Supreme Court if she did not allow her ex-husband to have sex with her. Conjugal rights were reinstated to her ex-husband, although she has since remarried. If she refuses to allow her ex-husband to have sex with her she will be punished according to the law. (Anwar Iqbal, "Wife faces contempt in sex case," United Press International, 9 May 1998)


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Coalition Against Trafficking in Women
Factbook on Global Sexual Exploitation
Donna M. Hughes, Laura Joy Sporcic and Nadine Z. Mendelsohn