The girls and women from the minority Christian community, which is one of the poorest communities in the Muslim-majority Pakistan, have been targeted by human traffickers to be sold in China as brides.
It has been reported that there is involvement of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen including Christian ministers, mostly from small evangelical churches, who receive bribes to urge their flock to sell their daughters.
As per the reports, though the Pakistani investigators started probe since 2018 following media reports unearthing exploitation of girls and women from the poor and vulnerable families of the country had to halt the drive.
The Pakistani investigators have been under tremendous pressure from government officials fearing that the investigation might disturb the cordial bilateral relationship between Pakistan and China.
This is evident when a court in Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals, who were arrested on trafficking charges.
It has been alleged that several women, who were interviewed by the police, were not willing to divulge anything as they were heavily bribed to remain silent.
A media reported quoted Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist, saying that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been put under “immense pressure” from the government not to go ahead with the investigation.
Iqbal has reportedly helped the parents rescue their young girls from China and prevent many others from being sent to the neighbouring country.
FIA is a border control, criminal investigation, counter-intelligence and security agency under the control of the Interior Secretary of Pakistan.
The report further quoted Iqbal as saying: “Some (FIA officials) were even transferred,” adding, “When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don’t pay any attention.”
The report also quoted one of the officials as saying: “No one is doing anything to help these girls.”
“The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The authorities won’t follow through, everyone is being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now,” the officials added.