The devastating flood that has ravaged Pakistan for almost a month, has left an estimated four million people homeless. An article in The Epoch Times last week warned that instances of human trafficking were likely to rise during these kinds of natural disasters.
In an email sent to Free the Slaves this morning, the Pakistani anti-slavery group, Green Rural Development Organization (GRDO) said “hundreds of thousands” of displaced flood survivors are living in camps around Pakistan—and that “Sindh is one of the worst affected areas.”
Jamshoro city in the Sindh Province is where GRDO is based. The province is rife with human trafficking and debt bondage, even in the best of times. Experts predict the influx of displaced people in the region will likely be a target for traffickers. GRDO went out among campsites in the Jamshoro area, to assess the situation. They reported a lack of basic necessities amongst the displaced people—camps without toilets, drinking water or tents:
“There is no regularity in response from the government,” GRDO said in the email. “There is no coordination… weaker ones are left with no food but with insult only. There are also cases where the local people pretend to be victims [and] stand in lines and snatch food from affected.”
GRDO continues: “Homeless families are sitting or lying in the open air, their possessions piled at their side. Many people are desperate and tensions are running high. There have been instances of crowds mobbing at those who bring aid stuff and people being hurt in the crush and confusion.”
Victims of the Pakistan flood number an estimated 15 million. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, “That is more than the entire population hit by the Indian Ocean tsunami, the Kashmir earthquake the Cyclon Nargis and the earthquake in Haiti, combined.” The area of land that has been submerged in water is larger than half the area of the countries of the world.
(Editor’s note: The devastation in Pakistan is mind boggling. Yet, there are reports that the international community has had a “tepid response” to the crisis. Don’t give in to donor fatigue! Free the Slaves helps organizations all over the world work to end slavery. Find out how you can support our programs here.)