US removes Pakistan
from Tier 2 human
trafficking ‘watchlist’

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WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Wednesday released its 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report that calls for action against domestic trafficking in human beings, in which Pakistan has been upgraded from Tier 2 “watchlist” to Tier 2.

Tier 2 are countries whose governments do not fully meet the TVPA (Trafficking Victims Protection Act”) minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but are making significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with these standards.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during the 2022 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report launch ceremony at the State Department in Washington, DC, on July 19, 2022. (AFP)

Pakistan remains in Tier 2 on the country trafficking scale, but has been removed from the “watchlist”, which amounts to a warning that in case of lack of further progress and being downgraded to Tier 3 would lead to sanctions.

“The Government of Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so,” the report during its report last year.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken launched the report at a ceremony at the State Department. “The (Pakistan) government demonstrated overall increasing efforts compared with the previous reporting period, considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity; therefore Pakistan was upgraded to Tier 2,” the report said.

According to the report, these efforts include increasing investigations, prosecutions, and convictions, including increasing investigations and prosecutions under the 2018 Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act (PTPA).

“The (Pakistan) government referred more victims for protection services. The government’s provincial departments increased implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) on victim identification and referral and trained more stakeholders, it said.

“The government allocated resources for the implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) and amended the PTPA to remove provisions that allowed fines in lieu of imprisonment for sex trafficking crimes with women and children as victims.”

In addition, Pakistan has also been removed from Child Soldiers Prevention Act (CSPA) list.

That list identifies foreign governments having government-supported armed groups that recruit or use child soldiers, a designation that could result in restrictions on certain security assistance and commercial licensing of military equipment.