Saleema was kidnapped when she was 9, raped 2 years later after being sold to a human trafficker Iqbal. She was raped again, kept in domestic servitude and was claimed as Iqbal’s wife, even though there was no ceremony. She had 2 children by the age of 14. She tried to escape many times but was tortured. The police refused to help locate Saleema. Saleema’s family received death threats from Landlords and neighbours and was advised to drop the case. Saleema had no concept of how long she was in captivity and had three more children by the time she left. She eventually escaped 25 years after her capture. She filed an application with the Danewaal Police Station but the SHO initially refused to take any action. She then filed an application with the Vehari District and Sessions Judge who asked the SHO to submit the report on the case in three days. Police report that Iqbal escaped the area and are currently searching his whereabouts. She has also appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister to take action against the gang and has appealed for financial assistance for her paralysis.
Iran’s begging Rings**
About 300 disabled children are taken to Iran, being forced to beg for mafias. As well as a recently arrested human trafficker, there may be more as hundreds of children have been kidnapped form Sindh, although many are recovered on ransom. Porous borders with Iran and Afghanistan mean that thousands can cross every year. A recent police operation has revealed the FIA’s failure in tackling human trafficking. – Salam Sdareho, National Manger of Child Labour, SPARC, Karachi.
Report on the trafficking of disabled beggars to Iran and victim and the modus operandi ***
Mujahid Shaikh, Rahim Ali, and Sajjad Chaddar were kidnapped from the flood-affected region in Kashmir, Khaipur Ranipur district. Kahmir Jafri was the kidnapper, living in Iran. Apparently 100s live in his custody. Kahmir belongs to a gang who are Jafri by caste and of Shikarpur district. The gang has admitted 200-300 handicapped have been trafficked to Iran, forced in to beggary at mosques and shrines. The caregivers are often complicit: they are offered a business deal such as 50% of their son’s takings in begging for example. Rahim Ali’s aunt, Lal Pari, was one such complicit guardian but she started demanding more money. When refused she informed the police for the trafficker to be arrested. Baddarin Lohar initiated a similar deal with Sajjad Chadar’s father. They offered him 10,00 rupees in advance, convincing him that his son would earn more money in Iran than where he was. Sajjad’s father accepted the money and disappeared. Sajjad resisted the kidnappers advances and they were then caught. He said in a statement:
‘We are the middlemen, the main dealer is Sarang Jafri, who manages the transportation of the hostages to Iran, their accommodation there and the money earned through beggary.’
Twenty-five-year-old Rahima married a ricksha puller without her parents’ permission and later found out that her husband had another wife and she ran away from her husband. While she was returning to her parents’ residence, she met Khaled, an agent, who claimed he could provide a decent job for her in a Middle Eastern country. Khaled also told her that it was much easier and safer to go to the Middle East through Pakistan. Rahima stayed in a rented house with four other women until it was time for her to go with Khaled from Dhaka to Benapole (Jessore) by bus, and crossed the Bangladesh-India border on foot. They took a train to Delhi via Calcutta and then on to Karachi. Khaled organized a false marriage of Rahima to Sattar, aged forty-one, who paid him 15,000 taka (US$400). Sattar brought Rahima to a red-light district and forced her into prostitution. After about two years, Rahima was able to escape the brothel and took shelter in the Edhi center, from where she was fortunate to return to Bangladesh.
*HRCP (Human Rights Commission Pakistan) Archives, 27d, 01/01/2011
** HRCP Archives, 27d 21/02/2011
*** Newsline – April 2011
**** PAUL, BISMAL KANTI & HASNETH, SYED ABU, Trafficking in Bangladeshi Women and Girls. Geographical Review, Vol. 90, No. 2 (Apr., 2000), pp. 268-276
***** Abdullah Khoso, SPARC