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

Food security: Solution lies in traditional food

After spending almost a month among tribals of Mandla in Madhya Pradesh, I can confidently say that by restricting ourselves to Public Distribution System (PDS), we cannot solve the food security issues of the country.   The problem is graver. In a district like Mandla, where aboriginals like Bai

Wholesale price index inflation down

The annual rate of inflation, based on monthly Wholesale Price Index (WPI), stood at 2.60% (provisional) for the month of September, 2017 (over September,2016) as compared to 3.24% (provisional) for the previous month and 1.36% during the corresponding month of the previous year, authorities said.

Digital India to provide 20-30% increase in India’s GDP by 2025: Alphons

Digital India program has the potential to provide an incremental 20-30 percent increase in India’s GDP by 2025. Since its launch in July 2015, significant progress has been made in several initiatives under Digital India, said union minister KJ Alphons. Several of the flagship project

Senior railway officer Achal Khare on the bullet train roadmap

Achal Khare, MD, National High Speed Rail Corporation, is a man with big responsibility – of realising India’s dream of running a bullet train. In conversation with Vishwas Dass, Khare lists various challenges before the NHSRCL – the executing agency of the Ahmedabad-Mumbai high speed

Why bullet trains are unsuitable for India

Many will be surprised to know that 80 years ago, trains ran at a faster speed in North America and Western Europe than in India today. On the shorter distances (up to 500 km), daytime inter-city trains achieved average speed of 120 to 130 kmph, and on the longer routes (more than 1,000 km) speed was only

Biting the bullet train

If all goes well, India’s first high-speed train would zip by in  December 2023. In fact, railways minister Piyush Goyal is even confident that the 508-km Ahmedabad-Mumbai high-speed rail (HSR) project would be completed much before that, by August 2022 – on the country’s 75th indepe



Video

Finally Talwar’s out from Dasna  jail

Current Issue

Opinion

Facebook    Twitter    Google Plus    Linkedin    Subscribe Newsletter

Twitter