LAHORE: A two-day workshop for lawyers from Lahore was organized under the auspices of International Organization for Migration ( IOM) to The basic aim of the workshop was to strengthen the capacity of the Legal authorities to effectively combat human trafficking, on Saturday.
The workshop, which is funded by the US Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, was organized with the cooperation of the Ministry of Law, Justice & Human Rights, Lahore High Court Bar Association, Punjab Bar Council, Lahore Bar Association and District Courts Narowal. A considerable number of lawyers from the Punjab Bar Council, Lahore High Court Bar and Lahore Bar Association attended the workshop.
Mr. Anwar Kamal, President, Lahore High Court Bar Association , who was the chief speaker, pointed out that although there has been a strong commitment of the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA), Ministry of Interior (MOI) to implement the Protection and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance 2002, its principles are yet to be mainstreamed in the administration, specifically, and important to coordinate FIA’s efforts with the Magistrate and lawyers who are in charge of the effective implementation of the Ordinance.
He also supported IOM’s motto of “orderly and humane migration befits both migrants and society.” Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Mehmood Saleem, the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Development, appreciated IOM’s initiative and emphasized upon more advocacy events at district and grass-roots level. He ensured that the Ministry will coordinate and provide full support to women victims of trafficking, and asked bar associations to inform relevant quarters whenever they come across such cases.
The Secretary informed that there are 25 women centers all over Pakistan which provide legal and medical aid and shelter to victims and have plans to establish more centers across Pakistan within 2 years. The workshop also included intensive panel discussions to promote inter-institutional cooperation for anti-trafficking measures. Panelists included representatives from the Migration Management Cell of the MOI and internal cell FIA, Gender Reform Action Committee from the Ministry of Women and Development and NGOs working on human trafficking and legal issues.
The panel moderator, former Ambassador Tariq Osman Haider pointed out the important role of the legally settled Pakistani Diaspora abroad and their annual contribution of US$7 billion in valuable foreign exchange remittances important to Pakistan ’s economy. He expressed that the need of the hour is enhanced education and vocational training for improving capacity and productivity in Pakistan, and to avail of shorter term migration and employment opportunities abroad.
From the audience, Ms. Uzma Razzaq, Advocate of the Lahore High Court, appreciated the collective effort by IOM, government ministries and civil society for conducting such an awareness-raising training for the lawyers. She suggested developing mechanisms with which trafficked women and children should be provided extra care and protection because in her opinion, it is imperative with respect to Pakistani society where vulnerable segments are often neglected.