The Afghan Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on Thursday said that at least 534 children--40 girls among them-- lost their lives while illegally migrating or being smuggled across borders over the past year.
Officials from the MOJ’s committee dealing with human trafficking and migrant smuggling, in a new report have stated that last year nearly 900 Afghan citizens lost their lives while attempting to reach Iran and Turkey.
“In our opinion there are certain factors such as war, poverty, unemployment, lack of awareness among the people about the damages of the illegal migration and human smuggling that need to be tackled as threats,” said minister of justice Abdul Baseer Anwar.
Moreover, many Afghans who spent significant sums of money and faced serious danger to reach new countries illegally, are being sent back in large numbers.
Officials from th International Organization for Migration (IOM) have said that over 362,000 Afghan refugees so far this year have been repatriated from Iran and Pakistan.
According to IOM, over 14,000 Afghans from Turkey and another 1,400 from European countries have been either forced to leave or were voluntarily repatriated to Afghanistan during the current year.
“Compared to 2018, the repatriation of Afghans from Iran and Pakistan have decreased, in 2018, over a million Afghans returned to their country. But the repatriation of Afghans from Turkey and European countries has increased,” said Mohammad Hadees Pardees, deputy spokesman for the IOM in Kabul.
But the Afghan Ministry of Interior (MoI) has said that the government is doing all it can to combat the trend.
“The Ministry of Interior has taken solid steps to prevent human trafficking--we have nabbed hundreds of individuals and those involved in human smuggling,” said Nusrat Rahmi, a spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.
Afghans are at the top of the list for most illegal migrants.
Analysts say that war, violence and poverty are among key factors behind the trend.