Renowned activist and cancer survivor Nadia Jamil along with popular actors, Mahira Khan and Ahsan Khan, speak against the heinous case of child abuse and rape of Fatima Fariro at a press conference in Karachi.
The Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) held a press conference to demand to authorities and judiciary to have speedy, transparent, and exemplary prosecution of the accused allegedly involved in the rape and murder of child domestic laborer Fatima in Ranipur and torture and attempted murder of child domestic labor Rizwana in Islamabad.
An emotional Nadia Jameel while talking about the current situation of the country said crimes against children have always been there but now these issues have been highlighted because of the media, which is a positive step. However, once the trend on Twitter ends, nobody bothers to talk about it again.
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Nadia urged that collective effort is needed to combat with serious issues of child trafficking and domestic abuse of child labor. She also added that those perpetrating these heinous crimes are often the ones that hold great influence, power, and even political backing. As such, it becomes incredibly easy for them to avoid any sort of punishment, easily getting away with their crimes. She stressed that we need stronger crackdowns on sexual predators and ensure they get punished due to the full extent of the law. We need to make sure that we will not rest until the perpetrator is punished. We will not stop raising our voices till then.
Popular actress Mahira Khan said that she has promised herself to raise her voice for such serious issues daily. She added that her voice can attract a wider range of people so she would now use it for the betterment of society.
Ahsan Khan said that despite any hue and cry against it, this practice still endures. Worst of all, we can see from Rizwana’s case that even among those we perceive to be well-educated, they are observed to be the very worst offenders.
Frieha Altaf insisted that the story of these young girls is a testament to the urgency of addressing this issue and seeking justice for those who have suffered. We demand a thorough and impartial investigation into the Rizwana and Fatima case and Justice must be swift, ensuring that those responsible for their suffering are held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
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Sarah Ahmed, Chairperson Punjab Child Protection Bureau said that the cases of Fatima and Rizwana stand as a harrowing example of the consequences of child labor and slavery and such cases should be made a test case to serve as a deterrent, sending a clear message that these heinous acts will not be tolerated. She was of the view addressing child labor and slavery requires a collaborative effort involving government agencies, law enforcement, civil society, and the media. She also said that it is also imperative that survivors of child trafficking and slavery receive comprehensive support, including physical, psychological, and social rehabilitation. “A nation that can’t protect its children, cannot progress”, said Sarah Ahmed. She said that child protection bureaus and authorities are doing its efforts to protect children working in hazardous environments and those who are victims of domestic violence, but we need support from all the relevant stakeholders to prevent these issues.
Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director SSDO, while highlighting the grave concern on the rising cases of child trafficking and modern slavery said that the rising cases of child slavery and child trafficking demand our collective attention and action to ban child labor and combat child trafficking and slavery in Pakistan. He emphasized the need to build harmony among diversified legal frameworks catering the specific child rights violations including early child marriages, child labor, domestic labor, child trafficking, violence against children, and bonded labor traditions in Pakistan. Child domestic labor should be taken as a serious crime against the state, a cognizable, non-bailable, and non-compoundable offense, and penalized through rigorous punishments. He added that sections 3 and 4 of the TIP Act provide for police to register such cases to ensure maximum penalization, however, it is strange that such cases of compelled child labour are not registered under the TIP act.
Kausar Abbas stressed on the need for the provincial government to seriously look upon the rising cases of violence against children by establishing dedicated operational and investigation units and providing adequate resources for the capacity enhancement of officers, investigation, and prosecution of offenders. He also said that there is a lack of awareness among common citizens about the prevalence of crime, the signs, and reporting mechanism to report these issues. In rural areas, the victim families usually are very poor and they are not aware of the fact that they are victims of TIP, bonded labor, and abuse, making it incredibly challenging to identify and rehabilitate victims.