Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid (Karachi, Pakistan)

My work for Lawyers for Human Rights and Legal Aid has so far been a mixture, oscillating between very interesting and very boring. On the latter side I've been working on a database that tracks people sentenced to death, going over the previous entries to make sure they have been entered correctly, and then submitting a report on how to improve the data entry form. An example of the former, my current project, involves working on a report that covers the current state of Pakistani human trafficking law. To illustrate this subject, the report includes studies of seven cases which my NGO has worked on. Both parts of the study have involved meeting clients, law enforcement personnel, and representatives of NGOs. The report is to be finally submitted to the Interational Labour Organization.

One of the most eye-opening experiences I have had is working on a case study that involves a rape victim, who was to be allegedly trafficked to the United Arab Emirates, to be forced into the sex trade. Being poor and illiterate very few people were willing to take her story seriously; even with my host NGO working on her behalf to have the matter reported to the police, several roadblocks were put in her way. Had it not been for her bravery the case would have never been registered and the perpetrator would never have been caught. It is very interesting, along with horrifying, to watch the legal system work in a third world country.

Apart from the project I am currently working on, I am also given work on an as needed basis. For example, I am currently working on making a presentation on child trafficking issues that the head of the NGO will use in a press conference. I am also given material to translate from Urdu into English.

In the end, I spend a lot of time asking questions, listening and trying to understand why the legal system does not work, why things are so broken and why they aren't being fixed. Occasionally, I'm also given a lesson in office politics, but that's part of the game.