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ONE after the other, reports have come of what is not human trafficking in the exact sense, but what does prompt the same sentiment, much the same reaction of horror and disgust among all right-thinking people. The first is the report of a horrible auction in a village of Taluka Kashmore, District Jacobabad, in which a girl of 20 was sold off by her brothers. She had recently been divorced and was the mother of two children. That her marriage was duly solemnised with the successful bidder later does not conceal the real nature of the transaction, which was an auction, in which the woman was sold for Rs 270,000. Then there is the young girl married off to an old man. Neither case fits the classical definition, in which women are sold into prostitution, but both presumably attracted the attention of World Vision Pakistan, the local branch of an international organisation, which organised a seminar in Islamabad on human trafficking of the traditional variety.

Though that is also a problem in Pakistan, the auction of a human being, even if later sanctified by a marriage by the local clergy, merely illustrates how religion is misused to justify ancient decadent practices. World Vision is setting up an Anti-Trafficking Action Coalition to build a government-community relationship for further strengthening of relationships and mechanisms for prevention, protection and reintegration, including both structural reform and the capacity-building of state actors. However, before tackling the issue of human trafficking, social attitudes which make such practices as the above acceptable, and which are the precursors of human trafficking, must change. That can only be done through education.

Therefore, the solution to the problem lies not just in the government taking strict preventive action, but also in working harder at the spread of education to cover the entire population. Not only must men be taught to abhor such practices, but women must also be made aware of their God-given rights.
Source: The Nation
Date:12/14/2009

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