Bonded labour has increased in Sindh but is under reported due to lack of interests of the media, NGOs and district authorities, said the participants at a workshop jointly organized by Hari Welfare Association and Deputy Commissioner Benazirabad district in Nawabshah.
HWA’s president Akram Ali Khaskheli said that Anti Bonded Labour and Anti Trafficking Committee in the district Benazirabad is regularly meeting and discussing the possible means to stop bonded labour in any sector.
He added that in 2019, 78 and in 2021, 15 bonded labourers were released through the district courts in district Shaheed Benazirabad. He said that the Committee has been supervising the implementation of the Sindh Bonded Labour System Abolition Act of 2015.
In 2021, 1465 peasants were released from the custody of landlords. However, he regretted that in 2014, in most of the districts, the District Vigilance Committees are constituted but most of these are not functional.
Thus, there is no monitoring of the implementation of the Act. However, during and after floods, there is a dire role of the DVCs because of the chances of human trafficking and bonded labour are higher.
He added that most of the officials are unaware about the Prevention of Persons in Trafficking Act (PoPA) of 2018 and the Bonded Labour System Abolition Act of 2015.
He further said that Pakistan is centre point country for children, women and men subjected to forced labour from other south Asian countries.
Khaskheli urged that increase prosecution and convictions of all forms of trafficking and bonded labour. Build capacity of officials on the implementation of Prevention of Trafficking in Person Act 2018.
Additional Director Social Welfare Department SBA, Sabir Qureshi Said that Human Trafficking is a crime, we have law Prevention of Persons in Trafficking Act (PoPA) of 2018, through its implementation we can eliminate human trafficking and bonded labour from our areas.
He said that all relevant departments including police, FIA and labour department put extra efforts and make close coordination to stop trafficking in person.
He added that we have started awareness about prevention from human trafficking at mass level, it will create knowledge among communities about laws regarding trafficking in person and bonded labour.
District Population Welfare Officer Raiz Ahmed Shar, Zubair ashraf from FIA, Muslim Farooq from Sindh Child Protection authority and Long khan from Police department also spoke on the occasion