Trafficking in persons in Afghanistan: Field survey report
Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Date: 30 Jun 2008
Trafficking in persons is a crime that can impair a personality and even destroy a human life and it gravely affects today’s Afghanistan as a source, transit and destination country. The traffickers ruthlessly exploit men, women and children by violating their basic human rights and this modern-day form of slavery continues to thrive with impunity.
This research, the first of its kind, aims to provide an in-depth analysis of the trafficking phenomenon in, from and to Afghanistan, based on first-hand data, with a view towards developing effective counter trafficking strategies in the future. Research data was collected mainly from expert interviews and a field survey conducted in Kabul and nine border provinces, namely Khost, Nangarhar, Herat, Balkh, Faryab, Kunduz, Badakhshan, Kandahar and Farah, from July to September 2007. A total of 220 community informants, 20 victims of trafficking, 43 victims of kidnapping and 19 smuggled migrants were interviewed. The non- personal data of 115 victims of trafficking referred to and assisted by IOM between 2006 and 2007 was also used in the analysis, based on IOM’s case record.
There are numerous factors making Afghan people extremely vulnerable to trafficking: more than two decades of conflict and the subsequent loss of lives and livelihoods, prolonged economic instability and deteriorating insecurity, to name a few examples. There are additional factors such as the common occurrence of violence against women, including forced marriage, rendering women particularly vulnerable. Children are another large pool of potential “targets” for trafficking with widespread poverty compelling up to one third of Afghan children to work in order to augment their family income. The majority of them are exposed to adverse working conditions outside of any protective mechanism. Afghanistan is facing a mass population displacement. Many of the displaced persons have no secure place to stay and end up living in camps or open areas deprived of any basic social services or means of livelihood. Women and children living under these conditions are particularly at risk o
f being trafficked.
In addition to factors related to the supply of potential victims, Afghanistan offers an environment favourable to facilitating the process of trafficking. Afghanistan shares borders with six countries and some parts are very difficult to control due to the terrain and trans-border tribal structures. In the absence of modern border management and a weakening of law and order, racketeers freely cross borders to traffic or smuggle people to or through neighbouring countries. With poppy production and smuggling of narcotics flourishing in the country, the tactics of criminal groups are more sophisticated than ever and their well-established networks contribute to cross-border trafficking operations.
Copyright © IOM. All rights reserved.