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Adoption legislation urged to counter child trafficking


Our Correspondent

June 14, 2024


KARACHI:

Zia Ahmed Awan, a human rights activist and founder of Madadgaar National Helpline 1098 and Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA), have highlighted the issues surrounding child adoption in Pakistan.


While addressing a news conference on Thursday, Awan, who is also a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, underlined the state’s failure due to the lack of legislation, insufficient rules, and procedures, and the absence of proper monitoring mechanisms, which create opportunities for child traffickers under the guise of false adoptions.


Awan said that NGOs play a crucial role in filling the gaps left by the government in caring for street and orphan children. He pointed to the alarming linkage between adoption and child trafficking and called for necessary reforms to address these issues effectively.


Awan said that without comprehensive laws and specialised adoption and post-adoption child welfare agencies, many children are denied the chance for a positive adoption experience, making the process challenging in Pakistan.


As a human rights lawyer, Awan has witnessed firsthand the systemic issues in the child adoption process in Pakistan.


He advocates for necessary reforms to ensure the protection and welfare of children. He cited the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2018 and the UN Palermo Protocol on Trafficking in Persons to define and illustrate the problem.


Awan pointed out that Pakistan lacks comprehensive legislation governing child adoption, leaving children vulnerable and adoptive parents without clear guidance. He called for the formulation of a detailed child adoption law with stringent checks and balances, mandatory background checks, and post-adoption follow-ups.

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