Human trafficking is an appalling and pervasive crime: US envoy

Urges collective actions against human trafficking

United States Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome today said that human trafficking was an appalling and pervasive crime.

Speaking at the International Conference here on Combating Trafficking and Bonded Labor of Women and Girls in Pakistan. Ambassador Blome urged collective actions against human trafficking.

Ambassador Blome highlighted the urgent need for collaborative efforts to combat this global crisis.

"It is a real honor to inaugurate this important conference," stated Ambassador Blome.

He expressed his pleasure at the involvement of the Pakistan-U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN), noting the network's widespread presence and impactful work throughout Pakistan. 

"I find members of our alumni network almost everywhere I go in Pakistan and doing all kinds of important work. And I am always proud when I see it," he added, emphasizing the significance of such partnerships.

Human trafficking, Ambassador Blome pointed out, is not just a crime against individuals; it is an assault on human dignity and freedom that knows no borders. 

Citing estimations of approximately 27.6 million people worldwide falling victim to this heinous practice, including millions of women and children, he painted a stark picture of the pervasive nature of the issue.

 "Beyond the harm to individual victims," he noted, "trafficking-in-persons also undermines national security, distorts markets, enriches transnational criminals and terrorists, and is an affront to our universal values."

Ambassador Blome introduced Ansa Noreen, an American trafficking survivor turned advocate. Her story, he emphasized, illustrates both the horrors of trafficking and the power of coordinated efforts to combat it. "Her story could have ended in tragedy," Ambassador Blome remarked, "However, through the coordinated efforts of stakeholders like you, she was eventually freed, and she stands before you today as a tireless advocate for trafficking victims."

Joining the conference was also Joseph Salavarria, a retired Special Agent from the US Department of Homeland Security, with over 20 years of experience in investigating human trafficking and smuggling. His insights shed light on the efficacy and necessity of collaboration among stakeholders in the fight against this transnational crime.

Ambassador Blome outlined the "3P" paradigm—prosecution, protection, and prevention—which the United States follows in combating human trafficking, noting its universalization in Pakistan's efforts as well. Additionally, he highlighted the U.S. Department of State's "4th P" - partnership - as a crucial element in the fight against trafficking, citing successful collaborations with organizations like the Sustainable Social Development Organization.

"The toll of human trafficking is borne disproportionately by its survivors," Ambassador Blome stressed, "however, it would be a mistake to dismiss the impact it has on all of society." He underscored how trafficking erodes the rule of law, community safety, border security, and economic strength, making it imperative for all segments of society to come together in collective action.

While acknowledging progress made, Ambassador Blome emphasized the work that still lies ahead. Through the conference, he expressed hope for the development of partnerships and exploration of opportunities for further collaboration. "Together," he affirmed, "we can increase awareness, strengthen Pakistan’s capacity to identify and investigate trafficking crimes, and share best practices in assisting and protecting survivors."

Ambassador Blome reiterated the US Embassy and US government’s commitment to supporting Pakistan's efforts in addressing this critical human rights issue. 

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