In a report created by the State Department of the United States, Pakistan is one of many countries subjected to sex trafficking and sex slavery. One main issue is that Pakistan has a high poverty level with many poor children roaming the streets without a home. In many cases young boys without homes are forced to sell themselves for sex in order to pay for food or places to sleep. There are some NGOs that try to house such homeless children, but often they are underfunded and can only provide some food and shelter during the day, leaving such children to roam the streets at night.
Some NGOs in Pakistan report that young boys are sex trafficked around bus stations, truck stations, and hotels. There are labor agents which go to poor families and offer money to use their children to sell sex, and often times many families end up giving their children away to participate in such acts to receive money. There is a structured system in Pakistan that finds women and girls and sell them for their bodies. As for the police that witness such trafficking, most of them are bribed to remain quiet and not stop people from forcing people into the sex trafficking industry. In many villages, young girls and women are sold to be the wives of older men, and are often used to provide sex for other men by the new husbands. Also, many people from Pakistan end up willingly leaving the country for economic opportunity with Gulf State recruiters, in which they are promised low skill employment. However once they are recruited, they are forced to give up their identity documents and are charged high recruitment fees, in which many are forced to sell themselves for sex to pay off such fees.
The United States State Department lists Pakistan as a Tier 2 Watch List for human trafficking, which is not a good score for Pakistan. In fact, the Department was close to recommending Pakistan to be a Tier 3 country, which is even worse for trafficking, however the government of Pakistan put out a written objective of fighting trafficking, which slightly eased the worries of the State Department. However, enforcement of sex trafficking laws have not been done, and prosecution of men that use such sex slaves are often not prosecuted. There is a cultural mind set that the men obtaining the services of young boys and girls are not doing anything wrong, as the children offered the services to them. However, Islam forbids acts of sex between men and boys, yet the cultural mindset does not point the blame towards the men that use such sex slaves.
I also found a documentary called the Pakistan’s Hidden Shame, which depicted strong instances of such sex slaves and trafficking. The documentary followed the life of a young boy named Naeem who lost his parents when he was 8 years old. His brother then
began to beat him, which prompted him to runaway, and then left him homeless. He was then forced to sell himself for sex to survive, which created a great emotional toll on himself, causing him to use drugs such as heroine. Using such drugs caused him to sell himself for sex even more in order to obtain enough drugs for his needs. Later on in the documentary I learn that Naeem then becomes the abuser of other young boys, using them for sex. The documentary shows the cycle of how young boys are drawn into the sex industry, and end up being the perpetrators as well.
What needs to be done
As for efforts by Pakistan to achieve goals set by the Sustainable Development Goals, through my research there has been little to no progress towards most of the main goals. According to a United Nations study, human trafficking has in fact increased in Pakistan. Religious persecution and no economic opportunity for men has led to increased efforts to traffic people to different areas of the country or out of the country to European countries and Australia. As for fixing this, the government of Pakistan must take action and stop ignoring the problem. The massive amounts of persecution against minority sects of Islam and those of other religions needs to stop, in which the government needs to make a massive stand to show people that Pakistan will protect them from such acts. Increased amounts of competent military and policemen in areas that have significant persecution is needed. Also, the government needs to fund more organized efforts to get young boys off of the street, who are often the most susceptible to sex trafficking and slavery. Through education programs that can help everyday Pakistanis recognize people who may be forced into sex trafficking is needed so that average citizens can try to put an end to it. The government of Pakistan will most likely not be able to fund programs to stop such trafficking, because of rampant corruption and lack of tax revenues, so an education outreach program that can help the people of Pakistan to recognize when people are forced into the sex industry will help if the citizens can take their own initiative to stop it and help those in need.