Kerala beach child sexual abuse hotspot

Kovalam in Kerala turning into a den for child abusers

PTI | May 14, 2010



Famous the world over as a tourists' paradise, the nearby Kovalam Beach town has been hit by rampant incidents of sexual and physical abuse of children in the 12-18 age group, a study has said.

Nearly half of the 705 children interviewed during the study in Kovalam and five nearby coastal hamlets had undergone some sort of abuse, mostly by tourists, relatives and teachers, the study by a NGO working for womens' development said.

Most of them were from the downtrodden sections, including children of fisherfolk, and school dropouts. Complaints of abuse were also received from child inmates in orphanages and child homes run by charities, Seema Bhaskar, project director of Mahila Samakhya Society, which conducted the study, said.

"Most shocking aspect of the study was many were victims of continuous sexual abuse right from the age of nine," she said.

Fourteeen children revealed they were abused by tuition teachers and others by their elder siblings and 39 sexually abused by foreign tourists after offers of cash and gifts. In some cases, they were given mobile phones, fashionable clothes and cosmetics, she told PTI.

Of 705 children, 6.36 per cent were physically abused in their homes. This included severe beatings and other such forms of torture.

The Mahila Samakhya Society, with support of the state Social Welfare Department, conducted the study in Kovalam, besides Kottukal, Kanjiramkulam, Vizhinjam, Karinkulam and Venganoor panchayats.

"We suspect there is a racket in the area in arranging children for customers who want sex, with the support of many youth who unfortunately act as middlemen," she said.

A consolidated report would be presented to both central and state governments next month after analysis and compilation of the data, Seema said.

On the methodology of the study, Seema said children were given a questionnaire during a workshop held in these areas with the help of local Anganvadis.

They were first counselled to persuade them to reveal their mental trauma without making them nervous. Classes were also held on matters like child rights, gender problems and various types of child sex abuse, she said.

Seema said the need of the hour was for the children to be educated and protect them from physical and mental torture

"A deeper study is also necessary to know the link between backwardness, livelihood and educational standards and the hapless conditions of children," she said.

As part of steps to end child abuse, MSS has set up 'Vigil Groups' of mothers in the area and made them aware of the rights of children and how to guard them from such abuses.

Seema said the Tourism Department urgently needed to send a clear message to visitors that child abuse would not be tolerated at any cost.

There should also be concerted efforts to make tourists aware of their responsibilities to honour the local culture and ethics.

The NGO plans to run a campaign on child rights in the area and take steps to bring the dropouts back to school, with the support of the Education Department.

The study was held as part of the programme of Empowerment of Women and Girls in rural areas.

 

Comments

 

Other News

Forget progress on Lokpal, we are going backwards

 The Lokpal law that was enacted after decades of debate and demand for an anti-corruption institution was dealt a severe blow as an amendment bill was introduced and passed by parliament in less than 24 hours.  On July 28, parliament passed the Lokpal and Lokayuktas (Amendment) Bill, 2

Mumbaiís draft development plan inconsistent, say activists

 A revised draft development plan (DP) for Mumbai has come in for criticism, with experts pointing out inconsistencies and anomalies. The two month window provided by the BMC for suggestions and improvement to the city’s revised draft development plan ended this evening. 

India has failed in bringing administrative reforms: Mark Tully

  It was the former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, who first wanted to introduce economic reforms. In the pursuit of that, I saw Rajiv as someone who got himself into what I may call a political muddle. And, in fact, I remember him telling me once that he knew he wasn’t good at politics.

Heavy rains wash away Gurugramís Millennium City tag

“People coming to Gurgaon from Delhi are advised to stay back today to avoid being stuck in traffic jams due to flooding on roads,” tweeted Gurgaon Police on Friday.  Incessant rainfall triggered huge traffic jams on the usually busy roads of Gurugram, abutting Delhi. Vehicles we

Eye specialists carry out 40 surgeries in Kashmir

 Hope has returned to the lives of those young Kashmiris who had feared  that they may lose their eyesight  to the pellet gun injuries they had received during the fortnight-long protests in south Kashmir after militant Buhran Wani’s killing. Renowned Vitreous Retina speciali

1,175 obsolete laws repealed

The government continues to focus on the repeal of obsolete laws in an effort to make the legal system more contemporary. As of May 13, the parliament had repealed 1,175 of 1,827 laws identified as obsolete, according to a question answered in the Rajya Sabha by then law minister DV Sadananda Gow

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter