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629 Pakistani Girls Fall Victim To Traffickers, Sold As Brides to China

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An investigation into the trafficking networks in Pakistan has revealed that 629 girls and women from across the country were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China.

According to the Associated Press, investigators have come up with a list of women having fallen victim to traffickers since 2018. Women interviewed during the course of the investigation spoke of how they were often forced to undergo fertility treatments, received physical and sexual abuse and, in some cases, were forced into prostitution.

Investigators have faced pressure from the government who feared that the matter would hurt Pakistan’s ties with China.

The government has attempted to stop investigations and has put ‘immense pressure’ on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency investigating trafficking networks.

In October, 31 Chinese nationals in Faisalabad were acquitted in connection with trafficking. The women who were interviewed during the case refused to testify as they had been bribed or threatened.

Senior officials have stated that such investigations have slowed down and media has been asked to refrain from reporting on trafficking.

Earlier this year, an investigation had revealed how Christian girls from poor households fell victim to traffickers and married off to Chinese husbands by paying their parents. These girls were often forced into prostitution in China.

Reportedly, the trafficking rings consist of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen, in some cases local Christian and Muslim religious leaders who urge poor parents to sell off their daughters.

The investigators have identified 629 women using Pakistan’s integrated border management system, which records travel documents of the people passing through the country’s airports. The information includes the brides’ national identity numbers, the names of their Chinese husbands and the dates of their marriages.

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A senior official stated to media that all 629 had possibly been sold to grooms by their families. He added that the brokers made between Rs4mn to Rs10mn from the grooms, but the families were only paid Rs0.2mn.

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Naya Daur