ISLAMABAD -- The National Assembly Standing Committee on Interior approved a bill on Tuesday that would make human trafficking punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty.
The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention and Rehabilitation) Bill 2019 was tabled by PTI's Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, and was referred to the committee. Committee chair Raja Khurram Shahzad Nawaz announced that the bill was approved after it was discussed by the committee members.
Human trafficking is a major problem in Pakistan, Ms Khattak told Dawn.
'Not only are a large number of people trafficked out of the country, but a huge number are trafficked within the country from one province to another,' she said, adding that those involved are not punished due to weak legislation and rules, which 'are copied from the rules that were imposed in the subcontinent'.
The maximum punishment for human trafficking at present in seven years in prison, she said. She added that while she first tried to amend the rules, it 'seemed impossible' because the methods of human trafficking have changed.
'So I tabled a new bill and sought support from the Ministry of Interior to refine it,' she said.
Human traffickers threaten the people they traffic to other countries and blackmail their relatives, she said.
'It is also observed that human smugglers kill people due to fear of being caught while crossing borders or they throw people in the oceans from ships. It has been suggested that there should be life time imprisonment for human trafficking...