In a groundbreaking initiative aimed at addressing issues of human trafficking and fostering safe and legal migration, Punjab University’s (PU) Institute of Social and Cultural Studies (ISCS) and the Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) have officially entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The MOU signing ceremony took place at the University of the Punjab and was attended by key representatives from both institutions.
The agreement, signed by Dr. Rubeena Zakar, Director of ISCS, and Syed Kausar Abbas, Executive Director of SSDO, signifies a collaborative effort to empower youth and raise awareness about critical issues such as combatting trafficking in persons, bonded labor, child protection, safe and regular migration, climate and environmental change, countering violent extremism, and combating drug trafficking within educational institutions.
During her address at the ceremony, Dr. Rubeena expressed optimism about the extensive collaboration with SSDO. She highlighted the institute’s commitment to working with various stakeholders and civil society organizations to ensure meaningful youth participation in societal development.
In response, Syed Kausar Abbas emphasized the vulnerability of the youth in Pakistan, citing a lack of awareness regarding various processes and laws related to crucial issues. Abbas announced SSDO’s intention to introduce a pioneering course titled ‘Introduction to Migration’ at the Institute of Social and Cultural Studies. The course aims to promote the concept of safe and legal migration while combating human smuggling and trafficking in Pakistan.
The press release accompanying the announcement stated that this marks the first instance of a university initiating a curriculum focused on migration issues, intending to encourage safe and regular migration within the country. Recognizing the youth as a crucial demographic, SSDO plans to launch ‘The Migration Optics,’ a portal designed to provide information on safe and regular migration to the youth and other segments of society.
Furthermore, SSDO plans to replicate the Introduction to Migration curriculum in other educational institutes within the hotspot districts of Punjab. Following this, an advocacy campaign will be launched to include such courses in educational institutions across the entire country.
The move comes in response to the rising trend of irregular migration from Pakistan, requiring a concerted effort to engage youth and other stakeholders. The initiative seeks to create widespread awareness about associated risks, provide information on available opportunities, and promote migration through regular channels.
As Punjab University and SSDO join forces, the collaboration is expected to make significant strides in combating human trafficking and promoting safe migration, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of Pakistan.