Sex trafficking case in Pakistan

by Thomson Reuters Foundation
Wednesday, 21 May 2014 10:12 GMT
Courts in Pakistan refused to touch a case on trafficking until we ran the story with the headline "Protect me from the beasts."

In Pakistan, 15-year-old Zunaira Muhammad dreamed of becoming a software engineer and went to clean the house of a woman who promised to pay for her education. Instead she was trafficked back and forth from Pakistan to Dubai, sold for sex.  After four years, Zunaira escaped, but the trafficking gang attacked her home, shot her and left bullet wounds running from her ankle to knee.

The response of the Pakistani police? They arrested her brother in law on charges of stolen property. Her family went into hiding. The courts refused to touch the case until we ran the story with the headline “Protect me from the beasts.”

Four days after our story was released, the Pakistan prime minister’s office ordered an investigation into the case of Zunaira Muhammad. The Islamabad High Court has now agreed to hear the case. The judge even cited our story in the courtroom, and has ordered the arrest of her traffickers and ordered police to provide her family with protection.