US upgrades Pakistan on ‘human trafficking index’

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Washington, June 30 (IANS) The US has moved Pakistan from a watch list to another group of countries that have taken significant steps to curb human trafficking, a report has revealed.

“The government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so,” Dawn news quoted the State Department report as saying on Friday.

“The government demonstrated increasing efforts compared to the previous reporting period, therefore, Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2.”

Tier 2 on the State Department’s list includes countries that do not fully comply with these minimum standards, but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance.

The move comes two days after an international financial watchdog placed Pakistan on its monitoring list – known as the “grey list” – for allowing terrorist groups to collect funds.

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“Modern slavery has no place in the world, and I intend to ensure, through diplomatic engagement and increased action, that the United States government’s leadership in combating this global threat is sustained in the years to come,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while releasing the report.

The report notes that the Pakistan government demonstrated increasing efforts by raising the number of victims it identified and investigations and prosecutions of sex trafficking, Dawn reported.

The provincial government of Punjab increased investigations, prosecutions, and convictions for bonded labour, the country’s largest human trafficking problem.

The governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh reported operating two additional women shelters and three additional child protection units, respectively.

The report, however, points out the Pakistan government did not meet the minimum standards in several key areas including the overall law enforcement efforts on labour trafficking remained inadequate compared with the scale of the problem.

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–IANS

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