US blacklists Pakistan-based human smuggling organization

The United States has slapped sanctions on a Pakistan-based human smuggling organization, whichhas been accused of being involved in smuggling migrants to the United States, including foreignnationals.The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Pakistaninational Abid Ali Khan and the Abid Ali Khan Transnational Criminal Organization (TCO) of being “aprolific human smuggling organization,” as well as three people and one entity associated with theorganization.“According to court documents, between January 2015 and December 2020, Abid Ali Khan, 40,allegedly organized, led, and worked, with others in his Pakistan-based smuggling network tofacilitate the travel of undocumented individuals to the United States,” the Justice Department saidin a release.On Wednesday, a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia returned an indictment whilethe Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced sanctions against Khan, his“Transnational Criminal Organization” and three of Khan’s associates.“In addition to the national security concerns, the practice of smuggling-for-profit and the facilitationof fraudulent documentation undermines the credibility of the US asylum system, damaging publicconfidence in the vetting process, and jeopardizing access to protection for vulnerable personsfleeing conflict, famine and persecution,” the Treasury Department said in the release.Khan’s network coordinates the smuggling of foreigners to the United States for an average cost ofapproximately USD 20,000, which included fees to procure fraudulent or counterfeit documents andmake payoffs to corrupt officials, according to the Treasury Department.“Treasury’s designation of this human smuggling organization as a significant Transnational CriminalOrganization is an important step, taken alongside our partners, towards disrupting Abid Ali Khanoperations based in Pakistan and around the world,” said Andrea Gacki, Director of the Office of theForeign Assets Control.She added: “The Abid Ali Khan TCO should not be allowed to prey on the vulnerable and takeadvantage of the U.S. financial system.”The Treasury Department also said that the Abid Ali Khan TCO often provides travellers withfraudulently obtained passports from different countries to facilitate his clients’ global movementand smuggling to the United States.The Abid Ali Khan TCO frequently utilizes a common route of travel that begins in Pakistan orAfghanistan, transiting through certain South and Central American countries before arriving at thesouthern border of the United States.

Tags: US, Pakistan, human smuggling

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