Child Trafficking in Pakistan

Child Trafficking in Pakistan

“A woman wailed in disbelief as the lifeless, bruised body of her 12 year daughter- Shazia Masih was handed to her on January 21, 2010.”



Shazia Masih like many other children in Pakistan was a victim of child trafficking. She was handed over by her mother to a man in Lahore, who promised that the child would be working as a domestic servant in a rich family home. The child was then sold to a lawyer after which, she was raped and beaten. The lawyer offered her family 20,000 rupees for the funeral and silence.



An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide for sexual exploitation – including prostitution – or for the production of sexually abusive images and to be used as cheap labor. According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about 12 million Pakistani children are forced into child labor, especially in Punjab and the Northwest Frontier Province, in conditions of real slavery. There is extensive trafficking of children from Bangladesh and other South Asian countries to destinations within Pakistan, largely for the purposes of forced prostitution. India and Pakistan are the main destinations for children under 16 who are trafficked from South Asia. HRCP has reported that in most cases, they are given away by impoverished parents, sometimes in “marriage” and sometimes to agents who promise lucrative jobs as domestic servants in large cities, for amounts of money ranging from $1,300 to $5,000.



Pakistan’s laws on child trafficking need to be urgently strengthened to consistently protect all children against trafficking. The following issues should be addressed to control child trafficking:



1) There are no specialized child protection units in Pakistan, even though plans to establish these have been in the pipeline for the past few years. While the Juvenile Justice System Ordinance (JJSO) 2000 offered greater protection to children, it is not being implemented in its totality. The judiciary should assume the leadership role for ensuring its implementation if the provincial governments lack the interest to provide direction in this regard.



2) The trafficking ordinance’s offence of child trafficking does not include cases where children are threatened or coerced into providing consent to be trafficked. Since its provisions are limited to trafficking in and out of Pakistan, it leaves out cases of internal trafficking.



3) The Child Protection Bill has been tabled before the Parliament but has not yet been adopted.



4) Pakistan must ratify the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, to sign and ratify the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children by UNICEF.



Trafficking deprives child victims the privilege to exercise their rights, including the right to belong/identity, the right to freedom, education, healthcare, as well as not being subjected to torture, or cruel and inhumane treatment. Child trafficking is a horrific act and we together as a society need to make an effort to combat this heinous crime.

Nojeba Haider

A corporate banker & freelance writer who is passionate about music, as she believes music and writing sets the mind and soul free.

  • Sophia Akram

    Thanks for writing on such an important issue. There are many stories like this that are never heard about – maybe a hundred for every one. There is a recognition that the problem exists now but no fit for purpose resolve that has actually been implemented just token gestures such as new legislations. I feel Pakistan has enough legislation, it needs to start implementing it.

  • Mohammed Khan

    Indeed a very important and sensitive information that you shared, here I’d like to add few points that LAWS ARE THERE “in the books” but no one has ever implemented the same, we see almost everyday beggars carrying newly born child and asking money so then she can feed him / her and that is all happening in front of the constable where he some how either neglects or kept himself away from such ILLEGAL activity. (though he is a part of it if he sees it)
    Further more almost every house in Punjab , Balochistan, Sindh , KPK KIDs under age are servants and i will not be surprised if any Law Implementation Officer would be doing this un lawful act. (

    Referring to your Point 3. Most Parliamentarian wouldn’t even know this act, where we see the Fake Degree Holder sitting and enjoying as Parliamentarians or Member of National Assembly

    We cannot get away from the fact that education for poor is as hard as it is hard for anyone to find Job in a total diminish market so in return poor think why to study when they can earn money either by begging, selling drugs or any means.
    Self – righteousness is gone! they wouldn’t know it until they learn from the society and off course Govt.

    You can very well judge the society as your blog mentions below has the quite few comments.

    You can also imagine the seriousness of the society…
    I dint mean to de -moralize you just wanted to highlight some facts and keep up the “Good Work” may Allah (SWT) be with you in this kind gesture.