Punjab Ombudsperson to curb sexual harassment against women

LAHORE: Punjab Ombudsperson Mira Phailbus Wednesday said that cases of sexual harassment at workplace were her mandate and laws will be enforced to curb such exploitation.

In an interview with media here Wednesday, she said that women workers, employed at homes or offices, facing sexual harassment or any kind of blackmailing may lodge complaints by post or e-mail with the Ombudsperson.

The Ombudsperson, in response to a question, regretted that sexual harassment cases are least reported by the victims due to social taboos as well as trust deficit.”Being part of a
traditional society, women do not bring cases of sexual harassment on record,” she responded.

To a query,she said that sexually exploited men may also lodge complaints with the ombudsperson for relief.

Regarding expansion,the ombudsperson said provincial liaison offices have been set up at Sargodha, Rawalpindi and Multan,besides Lahore central office. She added that offices would also be established in other districts of the province to provide protection to women workers.

Mira Phaillbus said that affected women may also contact her office directly.

She said that it was her responsibility to provide protection to women workers as per Punjab Assembly.

Women Harassment Act-2012, adding her role was semi-judicial.

Regarding exploitation of women in jails, she said that female inmates were victim of mental torture and other kind of exploitation in jails.

She said that she would, shortly, visit all jails across the province to ascertain factual position and resolve problems faced by women during imprisonment.

She further said that she would ensure implementation of the policy of meeting of married men and women in jails.

To another question, she said that awareness among women was being created in collaboration with 50 Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) of the province.

She said that awareness raising seminars were also being held so that women faced with sexual harassment may contact the ombudsperson freely and without inhibition.

The Ombudsperson urged the media to play its positive role to create awareness among the women regarding sexual harassment.