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Sargodha porn scandal

Published Apr 20, 2017 06:56am

CHILD sexual abuse is a crime with damaging and life-ruining repercussions. In recent years, the enormity of child pornography scandals — in Kasur and Swat — involving scores of victims suffering at the hands of abusers have revealed our nation’s dirty little secret. Recently, the Sargodha pornography case, made public by a cybercrime investigation following a tip-off by the Norwegian embassy, exposed the alarming scale of internet child sexual exploitation in the country. Unfortunately, even though fully aware of its existence, the state’s disinterest in preventing child abuse has allowed internet pornography to thrive. The Sargodha case is the monstrous handiwork of an engineer, Saadat Amin, who made 65,000 pornographic video clips of children for European clients, earning around $38,000 for the footage. Since the racket began in 2007, children aged between eight and 14 were lured with the promise of receiving computer training. Paid monthly stipends, they became part of a steady flow of pornographic content. So lucrative was this ‘business’ that Amin planned to travel to Norway with his child victims to produce more films. It is important now to establish the truth of what went on. But a thorough investigation has been challenging. With the social taboo attached to porn, victims and their parents are refusing to testify, with some parents claiming the ‘shameful’ photographs are fake.

In a world where pedophilia is rampant, it is irresponsible of the state not to educate children, parents and schools on the risks of abuse. Doing so will encourage disclosures — the first step towards deterring the perpetrators of this crime. Public campaigns to spot and report abuse will give courage to victims to name the predators. A national hotline could help families report without fear. Outrage and disgust are no longer enough. The state must start by strengthening legislation on child abuse and child pornography and award exemplary punishment to those found guilty of taking such despicable advantage of our most vulnerable segment of society.

Published in Dawn, April 20th, 2017