Chinese province hit by sex crimes

The investigation by the provincial women's federation and court in two major cities in southern Guangdong province found that sexual assault on girls was the most frequent crime, the China Daily reported Tuesday. The probe found that sexual assault accounted for 75.34 percent among all crimes against girls. At least 2,506 girls under 18 were victims of sex crimes from 2008 to June 2011. The crimes included rape and forced prostitution. Over half of them -- 50.72 percent -- were younger than 14 years.

The perpetrators of these crimes were often neighbours, friends, relatives and teachers, police said. The attackers were mostly aged under 20 or above 50. Around 66 percent of the victims surveyed said they knew their attacker.

The perpetrators targeted girls left behind at home by their parents in less developed areas or those who travelled from villages to developed areas. The suspects preyed on vulnerable girls using food and puppy dogs as bait, say researchers. Long periods of absence by the guardians, poor parenting, bad public security, and lack of sex education were also blamed for the rise in sex crimes.

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