The Pakistan government plans to introduce biometric passports next year. Announcing the measure, Interior Ministry spokesperson Sarfraz Hussain framed it as a move intended to disrupt human trafficking.
As The News International reports, there isn’t solid data on the trafficking of persons outside of Pakistan, but UN figures indicate that over 66,000 Pakistanis deported from Greece, Iran, Oman, Spain, and Turkey in 2014, with indications that the numbers have been climbing over time. Much of this illegal trafficking is conducted by organized crime, including gangs based in Pakistan. But by incorporating biometric data into citizens’ passports, the government aims to make it that much more difficult to forge ID documents, while simultaneously making accurate identification easier for authorities in the country and elsewhere.
Presumably, much of this human trafficking ends up contributing to the massive migration and refugee issue with which the European Union is currently contending. Countries in that region have also looked to biometric technologies to help manage the crisis, and with Pakistan now on board with respect to passports, it seems that such technologies will play an increasingly vital role in managing the situation going forward.
Source: The News International
May 20, 2016 – by Alex Perala