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

Bansal Suicide: NHRC issues notice to director, CBI, on alleged torture of Bansal & family

The national human rights commission has issued a notice to the director of the central bureau of investigation (CBI) asking him to send an action taken report on the allegations made in the suicide notes of BK Bansal and his son within 72 hours. The report must also include the names of the

Unemployment rate estimated at 5 percent: Labour bureau report

The latest labour bureau survey data is bound to leave policy makers worried as the unemployment rate is estimated at 5 percent. The 5 percent figure is at the all India level under the Usual Principal Status (UPS) approach or in other words 5 percent of the persons aged 15 years and above w

UPA had said ‘no’ to surgical strikes after 26/11

The idea of punishing Pakistan for sending terrorists to strike at targets in India was mulled during the UPA rule after 10 terrorists of Lashkar-e-Toiba had attacked multiple lo

Meanwhile on Twitter, Indians and Pakistanis go to war

  #IndiaStrikesPak Mentioning India strikes Pak = accepting PoK is Pak Can we please use PoK instead of Pak?

Surgical strike: A middle path between restraint and aggression

India has finally struck, albeit surgically. After the Pakistan-sponsored terrorist attacks in Poonch and Uri on September 11 and 18, war talk was in the air and a vocal

The India-Pakistan face-off at the UN

The glaring highlights for the Indian (and the Pakistani) reader from the 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) were the verbal spats between India and Pakistan. As the tones got increasingly accusatory with each right of reply (RoR), the concerned audience waited with bated breath for a respon

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter