ISLAMABAD: In the wake of increasing Pakistani immigrant youth deaths due to human smuggling, Pakistan has warned its youth not to travel to Europe through illegal routes as most of these smuggled youngsters either end up in jails, drown in boat accidents, or end up as sex slaves in brothels as employment opportunities are drying up fast in Europe.
In an official communiqué sent by the Pakistani Ambassador to Athens (Greece), Khalid Usman Qaiser to the Interior Ministry Additional Secretary mentioned that he had been writing frequently about the unchecked human smuggling mainly from districts of Gujrat, Mandi Bahauddin, Gujranwala and Sialkot which was ‘hurting Pakistan all around.’
“Apart from other crimes, many of the smuggled Pakistani teenager boys and middle aged women have become sex workers and are looking for clients at public places every evening. This is bringing legal community members and their families under psychological pressure and earning a bad name for our country,” said the letter – a copy of which is available with Pakistan Today.
“You are aware that Greece currently (is) facing debt/economic crisis. The unemployment rate is as high as 40 per cent (officially 23 per cent) and even the seasonal labour market particularly in the field of agriculture has become quite limited. Our immigrants have no prospects for moving to mainland Europe in the near future as the doors are shut by the EU presently.”
The ambassador said that in Greece, the smuggled youth (immigrants) end up in detention centres. “Some apply for asylum to buy time and stay on. As they do not find any job, they are trapped by criminals. Many of them perish on the way, bringing agony to their families. Last month alone, I dispatched around 20 dead bodies. Today, upon our request, local border authorities are looking for three more dead bodies,” said the envoy.
The ambassador further said that some young boys wish to be deported back to Pakistan but the International Organization for Migration (IOM) doesn’t oblige underage children due to their regulations and EU laws. These boys are penniless.
“They have become a financial liability for the embassy,” he lamented. He said that in the absence of any identification papers of these Pakistanis, the work for the embassy has been multiplied.
“I am trying hard to address the issue locally to the extent possible. However, the tap has to be closed at your end. This is a very serious issue that requires immediate attention. It is already becoming unmanageable. I would once again urge that our Interior M/O take steps to curb this senseless human trafficking,” the letter added.
The letter also mentions that incidents of boats carrying illegal immigrants from Pakistan, Syria, Afghanistan and other third world countries sinking have become a permanent feature of late.
Last Friday, a boat carrying illegal immigrants on way to Europe capsized off the coast in Libya. At least 16 Pakistani nationals lost their lives while another 20 have landed in the abduction of smugglers. In December last year, 20 bodies of Pakistani nationals were recovered near the coast of Athens.