Trafficking in Children is a form of modern-day slavery and involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit children for some type of forced labour/services or commercial sex work. A victim of child trafficking does not need to be transported from one location to another for the offence of trafficking to occur. Movement is not required for the commission of a trafficking offence, although it can occur. Trafficking can take place within a country as well as across international borders. The defining element of trafficking is exploitation for the purposes of forced labour/services or commercial sex work, not transportation. The modes of trafficking in children in Pakistan are bonded labour, domestic labour, beggary, prostitution, forced marriage, illicit adoption, camel jockey sport, organ transplant and participation in armed conflicts as soldiers. A significant proportion of trafficking in children occurs in the context of migrant smuggling. Because the cross-border movement of children is not monitored accurately, therefore the true scale of trafficking in children is not known in Pakistan, although Pakistani children and victims of trafficking continue to be detected in other parts of the world. The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report is an annual report issued since 2001 by the U.S. State Department’s Office to monitor the situation of human trafficking in every country. U.S. State Department’s 2022 TIP Report reveals that although, govt. of Pakistan is making significant efforts for the elimination of human trafficking, but still does not fully meet the minimum standards to eliminate it. Pakistan’s progress in combating human trafficking has been monitored by the US State Department since 2001 which issued the tier ranking of Pakistan every year. In previous years, Pakistan remained in ‘Tier-2 Watch List countries’, but because of Pakistan’s proactive actions and modernisation in working, its status was upgraded from ‘Watchlist’ to ‘Tier 2’ in the year 2022. These proactive actions were increasing investigations, prosecutions and convictions in trafficking cases as well as providing protection services to victims of trafficking and adopting referral, assistance, victim identification procedures and conducting stakeholders training. The Covid-19 pandemic made children more vulnerable to sex trafficking. Some of the key findings of the U.S. State Department’s 2022 TIP Report about trafficking in children in Pakistan are as under; 1. Traffickers have exploited Pakistani girls and boys in sex trafficking in Kenya and Greece respectively. 2. Some traffickers, including organized criminal groups, exploited Pakistani adults and children to forced labour in domestic work, construction, and begging in Iran. 3. Some traffickers have targeted Pakistanis with disabilities for forced begging. 4. Pakistan is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour, particularly from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. 5. Traffickers exploit women, girls and boys from Afghanistan, Iran, and other Asian countries in sex trafficking in Pakistan. 6. Bonded labour is the main form of forced labour, largely practised across two sectors in Pakistan, i.e., brick kilns and agriculture, and more than 70 per cent of bonded labourers in Pakistan are children. The government did not report any investigations, prosecutions, or convictions under the Bonded Labour System Abolition laws, thus, law enforcement efforts against labour trafficking remained inadequate compared to the scale of the problem. 7. There are 8.5 million domestic workers in Pakistan, including many children. Traffickers buy, sell, rent, and kidnap children for forced servitude in domestic work, and other business enterprises. 8. Majority of children working in the streets of Pakistan are subjected to forced begging. There are 1.5 million children who are homeless in Pakistan, with a third of those in Sindh province, they are often forced to beg by organized criminal groups. Begging ringmasters sometimes maim children to earn more money and sometimes force children to steal. 9. Children and youth are the most vulnerable victims of sex trafficking in Pakistan. Traffickers exploit boys in sex trafficking around hotels, truck stops, bus stations, and shrines. The Covid-19 pandemic made children more vulnerable to sex trafficking. In previous years, widespread sexual exploitation of boys in one coal mining community in Balochistan was reported. Boys as young as 6 years old from Balochistan, KP, and Afghanistan, are purportedly lured to work in the mines but subjected to sex trafficking. In some cases, parents are complicit in sending their children to the mines for sex trafficking. Some employers, including in restaurants and factories, require boy child labourers to provide them sexual favours for obtaining a job with the employer, for keeping the job, and/or for accommodation. Some police officials accept bribes to ignore prostitution crimes, and some police officials may have refused to register cases of child sexual exploitation, including sex trafficking, without a bribe. Traffickers have promised Pakistani boys admittance to Afghan religious schools but sold them to members of the Afghan security forces for Bacha Bazi, a practice in which men exploit boys for social and sexual entertainment. 10. Some Pakistani traffickers lure girls and women, take them away from their families with promises of marriage, create fraudulent marriage certificates, and exploit girls and women in sex trafficking, including in Iran and Afghanistan. Traffickers target impoverished Christian communities to send women and girls to China for arranged marriages. Upon arrival in China, hundreds of Pakistani girls reported their husbands forced them into commercial sex. In other cases, traffickers, including some extra-judicial courts, use girls as chattels to settle debts or disputes. Some traffickers force victims to take drugs and exploit the drug addiction to keep them in sex trafficking. 11. Non-state militant groups have kidnapped children as young as 12, purchased them from destitute parents, coerced parents with threats or made fraudulent promises for their children’s bright future, recruited children from madrassas, and have forced them to act as a spy, fight, and conduct suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan. From the above findings, it is clear that trafficking in children is a widespread problem in Pakistan and the govt. should take appropriate steps to determine its root causes and for its full eradication. The writer is former Program Policy Advisor (National Commission on the Rights of Child) and can be reached at email@example.com.