Pakistani daily rues sex abuse of 300 children

Islamabad: Almost 300 children were forced to have sex in front of mobile phone cameras, said a Pakistani daily which added that these children and their families need urgent psychological treatment as well as a rehabilitation programme.

An editorial in The Nation said on Thursday that sexual abuse of children is "probably the worst news we have read all year".

"Hundreds of children have paid dearly for the greed and negligence of adults. There were almost 300 children involved, ones that were forced to have sex in front of mobile phone cameras.

"These children and their families require urgent psychological treatment, and a steady rehabilitation programme, one that can be a starting point for them to move beyond this tragedy," said the daily.

Describing it as a sensitive issue, the editorial said that "any therapeutic treatment has to factor in problems of communal acceptance of treatment, local culture and issues of poverty and access".

Some children have narrated the extent of horrifying conditions. "They were imprisoned, threatened with torture, beaten, and some have been contemplating suicide."

"In a clip that was given to authorities, a groggy boy is beaten and abused as a man tells him that he will not stop until he smiles," it said.

The editorial asked how these children can move pass these instances, "ones that have now become the only memories they will have of their childhoods, especially when they come from poverty and already had a hard life ahead of them?"

The daily said that treatment for trauma in Pakistan is not often talked about.

"People tend to brush off any tragedy that ever happens, hoping that by not talking about it; it would simply go away. A textbook version of what psychological treatment should be will not work in this case. A community-based solution is needed.

"For the victims and their village, this is a lifelong problem and probably requires years of support from volunteers and professionals."

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