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Innocence Lost

by Newsweek Pakistan
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Arif Ali—AFP

One of the victims of the sexual abuse perpetrated by a gang in Hussain Khanwala. Arif Ali—AFP

Kasur, Aug. 11.

Estimates vary, but at least 30 and as many as 280 children were sexually abused by a gang of 25 men, who taped the molestation and used the videos to blackmail their victims, between 2006 and 2013 in the Hussain Khanwala village of Kasur district. A police report—rejected by media and local residents—initially claimed the allegations were baseless. But the government is finally taking action. Twelve people, including the main accused, have been taken into custody, top cops in the region removed from duty over allegedly supporting the abusers, and a new inquiry launched. Unfortunately, as detailed by NGO Sahil, the case merely scratches the surface. Annually, over 3,500 cases of sexual abuse are reported and observers claim this is a fraction of actual abuse, which goes unreported to retain family ‘honor.’ Pakistan has a long, troubled history with the sexual abuse of children. The Kasur case should be used to introduce harsher punishments for abusers—and accord a measure of justice to the victims in Kasur.

From our Aug. 15-22, 2015, issue.

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