As we continue to monitor our new-born screening pilot and also further develop our integrated ear & hearing pathway of care, we’re becoming increasingly aware of the distinct challenges facing D/deaf children and young people in Pakistan.
To our horror it seems D/deaf children and young people are being trafficked from Gurjat and other Punjab districts into Iran. Mainly, it seems for the purposes of labour and prostitution. In addition, we’re learning, D/deaf girls and young women from Bangladesh and Burma are being trafficked inwards, into Pakistan, for the purposes of prostitution. However, it appears that to date, no specific and dedicated investigative / assessment work has ever been undertaken in respect of this outrage.
Drawing reference from our work in South Africa and Zimbabwe (our report on the abuse and exploitation of D/deaf children and Young people in South Africa, ‘Behind the Green Door’ – funded by Comic Relief – met with critical acclaim), our partnerships with UK PLOD, IPSCAN and Child Helpline International, we’re looking at how best to respond.
As with our emerging work on the radicalisation of D/deaf children and young people, we’re moving carefully. We need to secure empirical evidence so that we can consider how best to proceed with the local D/deaf community and our global health partners – both locally in Pakistan and also internationally.
This isn’t going to be easy – communities and networks will close in to obstruct us… But we’ll tackle this, no D/deaf child should experience the horror of trafficking… Ever.
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