Preventing trafficking crimes among areas of mutual interest, State Dept says on Sarim Burney arrest

A day after a court in Karachi remanded social worker Sarim Burney in a human trafficking case, a State Department spokesperson Friday said preventing such crimes is among the areas of mutual interest between Islamabad and Washington.

“Preventing crimes like human trafficking, child trafficking and illegal adoption are areas of mutual interest between Pakistan and the US,” the official said when questioned by Geo News.

The spokesperson’s comment came in the wake of Burney’s arrest and subsequent remand by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on charges of human trafficking which included smuggling and illegally sending children to the US after American authorities filed a complaint against him.

The State Department spokesperson added that the US considers it its responsibility to maintain safeguards to protect the process of intercountry adoption.

“US laws include strict requirements for accreditation,” said the spokesperson, adding that the law includes oversight of foreign agencies in international adoption cases.

“We appreciate the cooperation of the Pakistani authorities on these issues,” the spokesperson maintained.

Burney — who runs the Sarim Burney Welfare Trust International, a non-profitable entity — was taken into custody on June 5 after he landed at the Jinnah International Airport in Karachi following his US visit.

The court, on Thursday, handed over the social worker to FIA on a two-day remand with a direction to produce him on completion of the remand as well as a progress report on the case.

He was, as per FIA, accused of trafficking more than 25 children to the US and illegally getting them adopted in the country. He has also been accused of fraud and falsification of documents, said the agency.

Subsequently, the allegations of smuggling children to the US triggered an investigation against the social worker.

A day earlier, the FIA further revealed that the social worker was also under surveillance by US authorities during his recent visit and that American authorities are also investigating the matter.


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