Pakistan's Largest Child Abuse Scandal

Pakistan's Largest Child Abuse Scandal
Photo Credit: AP/達志影像
What you need to know

Since 2006, over 400 child pornography movies were made. The money that was handed over reached up to 80 million rupees (approximately $ NT 24.84 million). If the money was not paid, criminals would sell the movies for merely 40 rupees (approximately $NT 12).

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UDN reports, an outbreak of child pornography cases was discovered in three villages of Pakistan’s eastern province, Punjab. Over 280 children aged 14 were sexually abused by 25 men and made into a movie. Since 2006, over 400 video recordings were made. The money that was handed over reached up to 80 million rupees (approximately $ NT 24.84 million). If the money was not paid, criminals would sell the movies for merely 40 rupees (approximately $NT 12).

The creation of these movies used a specific design, including having a director, actor and producer. Movie locations could be in the wild, in the bathroom, a room or an abandoned building. The children were not only victims of sexual assault, but also forced to molest each other. The youngest children were only six years old. As many victims were afraid of the movie being published, they stole their parents’ jewelry and money in order to pay the blackmailing fee. But many videos were still peddled and sold at a high price to pornographic websites overseas.

A representative of the victims’ families and judicial activist, Latif Ahmed Sara, says, “About 300 child molestation movies have already been sold. All the children in the villages are victims."

Liberty Times reports, last month one of the victims reported to the police and exposed the child abuse scandal. But the police’s rebuttal is that the two sides are fighting over property and one side is accusing the other of rape. One of the police officers that was interviewed says the sexual behavior in the movies was shot under mutual consent.

The families displays their dissatisfaction of the police’s ignorance, and says the victims are seen as criminals. On the evening of August 4, over 4000 people took to the streets, protesting that the police and government should punish the gangsters. Some protestors clashed with the police, injuring seven police officers.

If the investigation shows the police misconducting or conspiring, the events will trace back to Governor Shahbaz Sharif. As a result of human rights groups criticizing and the entire scandal being regarded as an ebullition, Shahbaz has ordered an independent judicial investigation. His brother, the current Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, has also vowed to take serious action against the perpetrators.

Saba Sadiq, head of Punjab’s Child Protection Bureau, describes the case as “the largest child abuse scandal in the history of Pakistan.” He vows to destroy the child pornography crime syndicate.

Photo Credit: AP

CNA reports, the core of the scandal is located in Hussain Khanwala, in western Lahore. It belongs to Kasur district of Punjab, which is under the authority of the local-ruling Pakistan Muslim League, PML-N. Latif accuses the police for delaying the investigation. She points out some videos were already shot in 2007. Latif says, “The police want to protect criminals and is giving them a chance to escape from the village."

China Times reports, the atrocities by these groups will be sealed off from anyone meddling in their affairs. A girls’ secondary school principal accidentally saw criminals selling the films at school. A few days after she reported the incident to the police, her car was burned down and she was forced to resign and leave the village.

Families of the victims recently started strong protests. These events are known to the Pakistani public, however, the families told reporters someone pressured them to withdraw their previous remarks. Protest organizers have also received death threats.

Awakening TW reports, due to pedophilia being a very sensitive matter, Punjab officials downplayed the case by saying seven men have already been arrested for questioning and a mere 30 films have been confiscated. One of the major crime suspects also used five million rupees to bribe the police and wanted to use the money as compensation for the families of the victims. He was then released by the local police. The case has also triggered a lot of tweets condemning the savage acts and the undisciplined behavior of the government. Participants noted that the local police have tried to cover up the cases and suspects have tried to use money to escape legal sanction.

Photo Credit: AP

Translated by Sarah Grasdijk
Edited by Olivia Yang

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