ISLAMABAD: UNODC Country Office in Pakistan in collaboration with the Federal Investigation Agency is rolling out nation-wide public awareness campaign against Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and the Smuggling of Migrants (SOM).

The Australian Department of Home Affairs, U.S. Department of State and European Union will support the campaign under the framework of the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT).

It aimed at to increase awareness regarding the risks, issues and challenges associated with human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Besides, it would create community-led efforts as well as a national discourse on the topic, which will ultimately lead to the engagement of policy makers.

The awareness campaign is being implemented at the national level with a focus on high risk areas and will utilize several institutionalized tools to engage stakeholders.

This includes the distribution of brochures and display of banners in key districts, a social media page focused on TIP and SOM, and the dissemination of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) through local and terrestrial radio as well as through Short Messaging Services (SMS).

The nationwide rollout will officially commence Monday, 24 September 2018 and run until December 2018.

TIP within Pakistan accounts for thousands of people being forced into bonded labor at brick kilns, in agriculture, the carpet industry and majority of the victims are women and children.

Criminal networks have become increasingly good at luring vulnerable people into being exploited. More and more efforts are needed to help prevent TIP and SOM. UNODC urges civil society to play its vital role in helping to raise awareness and to prevent TIP and SOM.

Cesar Guedes, UNODC Country Representative for Pakistan, reaffirmed his commitment to the Government of Pakistan and stressed on mobilizing all relevant stakeholders to empower the institutions and promote innovation in conventional approaches.

When it comes to awareness raising we must target the community at the grassroots level to have a deeper impact”. He added that “Much more needs to be done in terms of raising awareness amongst a broader section of society, including local communities, policy makers, local government representatives and the media”.

UNODC understands that it is crucial for the government and civil society to work in close partnership to fight human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The fight will only succeed in a joint effort by raising the level of awareness among a much broader mass and relevant stakeholders.

This campaign is important as it combines both, prevention with protection strategies, which will in turn benefit civil society organizations as well as victims of trafficking and smuggled migrants directly.