Friday, June 15, 2007

AFGHANISTAN: War, poverty and ignorance fuel sexual abuse of children

Photo by: Akaml Dawi/IRIN

"Abdul Kabir, not his real name, left his home in Afghanistan’s southern Urozgan province to work for a relative and attend school in neighbouring Kandahar province. Six months later, the 12-year-old found himself in a juvenile prison after being sexually abused."

“After my relative declined to give me a job at his shop, I went to a labour market where two men hired me for construction work for 50 Afghani (US $1) a day. They took me into an empty house where they both forcefully had sex with me,” Abdul said, recalling in vivid detail his confinement for three months before managing to get away."

"But Abdul’s nightmare didn’t end there. A driver who promised to take him back to Urozgan for free also abused him, he said. Eventually, Abdul Kabir was able to find his way back to the poppy field he once worked in as a day labourer. There, Abdul Kabir said another young man, also working in the poppy field, tried to rape him. “But I stabbed him in the stomach,” Abdul Kabir said - a move that prompted locals to turn him over to the police."

"A health worker in Kandahar’s main hospital told IRIN that three to five sexually abused children receive medical treatment every month. “Although victims can receive treatment for their physical injuries, the psychological scars will be with them for a long period of time,” Dr Ghulam Mohammad Sahar said. "

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