Children sexually abused on Pakistan's streets by Police
KARACHI - Nadeem knows first hand the misery of life on the streets. Sexually assaulted as a child, he became a pimp of young boys -- the only way he knew how to survive as a member of Pakistan's underclass.
He says he was 12 years old when he was attacked. Since then, he has been dragged into a vicious cycle of horrifying abuse allegedly aided and abetted by police and which few are willing to confront in the Muslim country.
"It was just the third night I slept on a street when a policeman picked me up and did bad things to me. I cried a lot but no one came to help me," Nadeem, now 17, told AFP.
He was sexually assaulted for a second time by the leader of a street gang, who then forced Nadeem to join the 17 other children in his gang.
By 14 he was a full-time sex worker. His pimp gave him a mobile phone to keep in contact with clients.
According to charities which work to protect street children in Pakistan, up to 90 per cent are sexually abused on the first night that they sleep rough and 60 per cent accuse police of sexually abusing them.
"Children on the street are beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, and sometimes killed," said Rana Asif Habib, head of the Initiator Human Development Foundation (IHDF).
"Police (should) protect people. When policemen are themselves involved in molesting children, who will protect them?" he asks.
"What we have gathered in our research is that policemen make up more than 60 per cent of those who physically torment, sexually harass street children," said Anwer Kazmi of the Edhi Foundation, the country's largest charity. (...)