ISSN 2330-717X

Pakistan: Concern Mounts Over Child Trafficking

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Church authorities have expressed concern at the growing threat posed by human traffickers after the escape of a kidnapped altar boy.

“Always keep track of your children and make sure they know your cell phone numbers. Kidnappers smuggle, deform them for begging or try to sell them,” Father Andrew Nisari warned parents yesterday

The Vicar General of Lahore condemned child trafficking and urged prayers for victims yesterday as one of them, Sameer Samuel, 9, received the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist with 150 others at the Sacred Heart Cathedral.

Father Nisari, speaking with the altar boy’s family at the end of the Mass described the narrow escape as miraculous.

Sameer was abducted outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral on October 23 and spent just over 10 days in captivity before he turned up at a Christian settlement in Attock, a city in the north of Punjab province.

“After failing to sell me and becoming unnerved by media reports, the kidnapper tried to kill me by throwing me in the Indus River,” Sameer said.

I managed to grab a branch and was later pulled out by a priest who took me to the Christian settlement where I contacted my parents and asked for my first communion,” added the boy who is recovering from a minor injury to his foot.

Caritas Pakistan has demanded strict laws against child trafficking.

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“Increasing poverty is making women and children extremely vulnerable. It’s an issue affecting Christians and Muslims,” said Amir Irfan national coordinator of Caritas Pakistan’s livelihood program.

Meanwhile, the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC) at its national conference recently, highlighted the high profile case of a Christian girl tortured to death last year by her Muslim employer.

According to SPARC’s annual report, 1,216 cases of child sexual abuse were documented in the country in first six months of last year. Of these, 125 boys and girls were sexually abused after being abducted, while 55 were murdered after being sexually assaulted.

UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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