In the last one and a half years, 276 incidents of child abuse have been reported in different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, out of which 60 incidents took place in the province’s major cities of Peshawar, Nowshera and Mardan.
Provincial officials and volunteers from human rights organizations say most incidents in rural districts go unreported. However, these incidents do not occur due to lack of effective media access in these areas. Most parents of affected children keep these incidents a secret.
According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Access to Information Agency, there were 185 incidents of child sexual abuse last year, including 135 underage boys and 50 girls.
As of June 30 this year, 91 cases of child abuse have been reported, according to figures provided by the children’s rights watchdog Sahil. Meanwhile, five children were killed after being raped.
Police say they arrested a total of 248 suspects in 185 incidents in 2019.
According to social workers, in addition to rape and murder, kidnappings or mysterious disappearances of minors are also on the rise in different parts of the province.
Imran Thakkar, a social activist for the protection of children’s rights, says such incidents are often caused by conflicts or kidnappings for ransom. Activists of extremist organizations are also involved in these incidents.
He said that after the rape, the accused try to make the children disappear or kill them so that their guilt is covered up.
Social activist Imran Takkar continued violence against children is on the rise across the country, including Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.