Sex trafficking and prostitution in Pakistan are no more undercover stories. It’s quite clear that prostitution exists, and it is protected by some of the most reputable names and organizations of Pakistan. The worst dilemma of our times is, sex trafficking involves children aged between 12-15 and then are utilized, for purposes Pakistanis must not talk about in public because it’s against our nationalism, by prostitution and pornography rings. These children are usually kidnapped from the streets, they do not have families, and even if they have one, they happen to be so low that they give up their children to earn bread. Poverty can put people into bizarre places. And unfortunately, there are plenty of vultures in the world who use soft spots of people in peculiar places.
Child prostitution is majorly connected to child pornography, primarily operated by many influential people in this country. Child porn is one of the most popular watches in Pakistan, which is straight-up violent. The networks are run by the mafia in educational institutes, especially in madrasahs of underprivileged areas where education is a foreign word. The kids are threatened, repeatedly sexually abused, and filmed. Later, the videos are uploaded on YouTube and the dark web both, where thousands of sexually frustrated viewers wipe off their lust by shredding these innocent children’s childhood into pieces. There are several organized, and unorganized networks of child prostitution are operating in Pakistan. Higher authorities protect the organized structures of child pornography. These organized networks kidnap street children; preferably, these children are used for labor in the daytime, and at night, they are sold to the abusers/pedophiles. Most of these networks are working at bus stops, train stations, and rest houses where children are hired for labor and then are forced into this filthy work.
These children are aged between 12-16. Most of them haven’t hit their puberty when they are forced into prostitution and are males. They appear as ordinary beggars or tea stall workers at first, but they are primarily there to attract men sexually at some of the country’s busiest bus stations. Their films are being made in which their faces are blurred, and these films are sold to the dark web operators. Kasur is the biggest hub of child pornography, where on average, more than four kids are raped daily. The children are being raped in religious education institutes, kidnapped from streets and raped, raped in homes, and rapists allegedly film them. These children are sometimes aged between 6-10 who are abused repeatedly. Later their clips are used to blackmail their relatives. It is quite apparent that these videos provide a handful of money to the people who’re responsible. The saddest part is, police and authorities are aware of what’s happening, yet they choose to stay quiet over this hideous act, protecting the culprits. Peshawar is also one of the prominent places where child pornography is quite common. The sites are occupied by these rings, looking like any other ordinary place to stay out of law and order authorities’ sight.
These children grow up into too insecure and scared individuals. In 2016, when a ring was caught in Kasur, the victims were not older than ten. The victims were severely traumatized by what happened to them and suffered significant PTSD. The children who try to escape are tortured brutally by these goons. The torture includes burning the patches of their skin, severe beating by different instruments, and starvation. These children develop a drug addiction, and this addiction is used by the ones using them for sex work because that way, these children are blackmailed and further forced into this filth. Hundreds of children have lost their lives while fighting a battle they weren’t equipped well for.
The government of Pakistan has taken some significant steps to eradicate child prostitution, yet it exists, and it’s only increasing with each passing day. Now, child abuse is no more a piece of shocking news because it’s happening almost every day. The number of reported cases is increasing, and it’s scary how we cannot save our children from the hands of these monsters. It’s scary how unsafe this place has become, even for innocent lives.
By Aleezeh Fatimah Hashmi