Pakistani authorities have investigated the country’s biggest child abuse scandal in which a global network of paedophiles is involved in recording forced sexual acts of hundreds of children and taking extortion money from the victims.
Saba Sadiq, head of the Child Protection Bureau (CPB), described the case as “the largest-ever child abuse scandal in Pakistan’s history.” She also indicated that the government would change the law to ensure vigorous punishment for such criminals.
After initial investigations the officials said that the accused were attempting to export the videos of heinous crimes to porn site operators in Britain, the US and some European countries.
It’s claimed that a gang of 15 men may have been involved in sexual abuses of around 500 children and taking extortion money from the victims and their families.
“Some victims stole jewellery from their families to pay money to the alleged rapists to stop public appearance of the videos,” local press reported a victim as saying.
The families of the victims accuse the police of protecting the suspects by covering up the incident by distorting the facts by calling the outrage “as a result of an old feud amid two groups.”
However, families of the victims and human rights groups reject the police version and local media has also confirmed the widespread child sexual abuse in a bordering village of eastern Punjab province.
The accusations of the child abuse scandal have rocked Pakistani society where paedophile is considered one of the social taboos.
Citizens and human rights groups have protested for “justice for the children.” On the other hand, political leaders have also urged the government to send sex scandal cases to the military courts for speedy trial of the culprits.
In the wake of the dreadful Taliban attack in a school, Pakistan has recently formed Anti-Terrorism military courts to take action against the Taliban groups involved in terrorism. In the past most of the alleged attackers were acquitted from the courts due to the judicial weaknesses.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Prime Minister has vowed to give “exemplary punishment,” saying the offenders would not be spared.
Fourteen persons involved in the child abuse case have been arrested by the police. The police said that the majority of the accused are in their early 20s. One of the accused denies participating in the crime, but has confessed that the crime happened in his presence, according to reports.
Pakistan has a tainted record in children’s education, safety and health. According to child protection network ‘Sahil’ 3,508 children were sexually abused in 2014 with 10 such cases happening per day. The highest percentage of a vulnerable age group among both girls and boys was 11-15 years.
With millions of vulnerable street children, Pakistan’s literacy rate is low, so most parents are unaware about the requirements of mental and physical growth of children.
“The parents are not alert of how exposed their children are in a society where child abuse is rampant,” a psychotherapist stated.
Local media has reported that crimes against children are escalating in the country in the recent years; however, the government has failed to protect the children.
There is an urgent need to bring revolutionary reforms in country’s legal and social structures to protect the rights of children.