Investigators looking into the case 12-year old Shazia Masih, a Christian girl who was tortured, raped and killed on January 22 in Lahore, Pakistan, say they have uncovered a “a sinister twist of the sale, trafficking, and slavery of children” that has overtaken the country.
According to Fides news agency, Shazia was taken from her home by a man named Amanat, who deceived her mother by promising a decent life for her daughter with a rich family in Lahore, where she would be a “domestic employee” of Muslim attorney Chaundry Muhammed Naeem who, after raping and killing her, tried to bribe her family into silence with the equivalent of $250.
“The sad case of Shazia is showing investigators the ramifications and dynamics that lead back to a real organized crime, based on the trafficking of children.” The children are “taken from their poor families, often Christian, with the illusion that they will find dignified work among middle-class families. They are then sold to these families, becoming ‘little slaves’ at the mercy of their employers, losing their freedom, and living practically under arrest,” Fides reported.
Investigators said the case of Shazia "is particularly thorny because it surrounds a man of law, a person who should pursue justice, and instead has become complicit in criminal actions,"
Both Naeem and Amanat have been detained by police.
“Many children are sold as slaves for work or prostitution in Pakistan,” Fides reported. “According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), about 12 million Pakistani children are forced into child labor, often in conditions of real slavery, especially in Punjab and the Northwest Frontier Province. This phenomenon, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) says, is unfortunately on the rise.”