Transgender Community in Pakistan Finding Kidnapped Children

According to rights groups 40,000 children go missing every year in Karachi.


Sabtu, 11 Jan 2014 15:54 WIB

Transgender Community in Pakistan Finding Kidnapped Children

Pakistan, transgender, missing children, sex industry, Shadi Khan Saif

Begging and sex work are what most transgender people in Pakistan end up doing.

As a result they have information about the dark world of child sex trafficking.

Bindya Rana had the idea of tapping into this information to find missing children.

“We are provided with pictures of the missing child, which we pass on to the transgender people in the areas where they beg and live. We direct them to search around and if they get any information to let us know.”

According to rights groups 40,000 children go missing every year in Karachi. Many are kidnapped and sold in the sex industry.

Bindya has around 2,000 transgender people doing this work.

This year alone, they have recovered more than 40 kidnapped or missing children in Karachi.

She says it’s a very rewarding work.

“A transgender who helped discover a missing child started crying when the mother of that child hugged and kissed her.  She was NOT crying with fear of the kidnappers but was overwhelmed by the love and respect she got for the first time in her life.”

Bindya and her team works in partnership with the Roshni Foundation, a non-government group that helps find missing children.

Programme officer Muhammad Ali says it’s a success.

“One of our transgender volunteers informed us that a kidnapped girl was being kept at a brothel where she was being exploited. The transgender person asked us to protect her and not reveal her identity.  We went to that place with the police and found not only that girl but three more girls aged between 12 and 14 who were being kept at the brothel.”

But such success stories are rare... Less than 20 percent of children who went missing were found last year. 

Most of the children who go missing are from poor areas.
The government says poverty and large families are part of the problem.

Local Minister for Social Welfare Rubina Qaimkhani wants to see parents take better care of their children.

“Parents must have vigilant eyes for their children. If we work together we can solve this problem.”

But there are many children who don’t have parents around to watch them.

Edhi shelter for homeless children is one of the largest in Pakistan.  

Doctor Rehana is in charge here. He’s impressed with the program that see transgender people get involved in finding missing children.

“It’s a positive idea. If we Pakistanis use our mind for such positive ideas we can change a lot, but if we stayed on the negative path than nothing is going to change here.”

Bindya and her friends don’t charge any fees for their services... They just want respect in return for their efforts.

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