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“He raped me after giving food”, says 12-year-old Herat boy

“He raped me after giving food”, says 12-year-old Herat boy

Jan 25, 2018 - 09:39


HERAT CITY (Pajhwok): “He would always chase me, telling me that he will give me everything I want and it was until he deceivingly took me to his house and raped me there,” recalls a 12-year-old boy.

Jawad (not real name), a resident of western Herat province, comes from a poor family. He works as a scavenger to earn money and feed his family.

According to the Article 1, of the law on combating human and migrant trafficking says deceiving a child for exploitation is a form of human trafficking and gross violation of human rights of person exploited.

The Article 3, of the law says recruiting (bringing under control) someone, transferring, threatening or using force against someone for benefit, kidnapping and deceiving are key elements of  human trafficking in person.

A large number of children collect wastes countrywide including capital Kabulinfo-icon. Jawad is one of the victims of human trafficking among many. A Pajhwok Afghan News reporter was able to reach him out to speak.

With inappropriate clothes and unwashed hands, Jawad was carrying a bag full of recyclable and used materials. He told Pajhwok Afghan News he collected used things from roads and local parks to economically support his family.

He collects empty bottles of cold drinks and water bottles and other plastics and sells seven kilograms each for 50 afghanis in Herat city.

Jawad was undecided when he started his story. “As I go out early in the morning for collecting waste, a man was following me for several days. He would come close and tell me he will give whatever I need --- clothes, bread, money or any other things.”

“Three months ago, one day I was very hungry and I knocked at the door of this man’s house to bring me some food. On seeing me, he became very happy and told me to go with him inside to give me food. He brought me some rice and meat and told me whenever I feel hungry; I can come to his home.”

“After I had finished the food, I wanted to go, but the man did not allow me. I pleaded to let me go, but he forcibly took me to an underground room and sexually assaulted me,” the boy said.

Jawad said, the man warned him that he will kill him if he talks to someone else about what happened between them.

When asked about being recruited by someone, Jawad said,” I haven’t been recruited by anyone, I am doing this just to find livelihood for my family”.

He said no one except his family knew about the incident and he did not complain to the police.

“If I complain to police, our problems may increase,” said Jawad, whose wish is to study and become a policeman in future and prevent children’s harassment.

He did not want to talk more about his story and avoided to give the address of the man who assaulted him or the address of his home.

Jawad is not the only child to be sexual assaulted, many child laborers are subjected to similar harassments but they do not reveal their stories.

Officials at the Herat labor and social affairs department expressed concern over the existence of a large number of child laborers and their sexual harassment.

Abdul Qayum Afghan, provincial labor and social affairs director, said sexual harassment of children cases happened in Herat, an issue he said was a matter of great concern.

“Police report to us about sexual harassments, we confirm this phenomenon exists and we are also worried about it,” he said.

Provincial police spokesman Abdul Ahad Walizada said nine cases of children sexual assaults had been registered since the beginning of current solar yearinfo-icon in Herat and 10 people detained in connection with them. He said the accused had been referred to the attorney office for investigation.

However, Abdul Haq Ahmadi, Herat attorney general, said more than 10 cases of sexual assault on male children happened in the province this year. These cases have been sent to the relevant courts.

Susan Rahmani, an official at the Save the Children project in Herat, said gender issues such as Bacha Bazi and sexual assaults on children was their priority area to cover.

But she said clear statistics about sexual assaults on children were not available in the province. “We registered 50 to 60 of these cases with most of them happening on the outskirts of Herat city, parks and near hotels and restaurants,” she added.

Rahmani said most of the children who were subjected to sexual harassment were aged between 12 and 15 years who worked as street vendors.

Meanwhile, Abdul Qadir Rahimi, head of Afghanistaninfo-icon Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)’s regional office, said: “Most people try to hide sexual assault cases, but unfortunately these cases are a fact in our societyinfo-icon.”

Chief Justice of Herat Ghulam Mohammad Rahmani, who is associated with the Commission on Combating Human and Migrant Trafficking, said they had no exact statistics or reports about sexual assaults on children.

“There is no doubt that such incidents happen and people involved in these cases have been introduced to the attorney office and are imprisoned,” he said.

Psychologists in Herat say sexual assault is the most violent crime as victims of this crime suffers for long years.

Mohammad Taqi Mohammadi, a psychologist in Heart, said the initial impact of sexual assault on children was fear. “Sexual assault also affects the personality of children, they become isolated, violent, their self-confidence and analysis becomes weaker compared to other children,” he said.

Abdul Majid Samim, a lecturer of Sharia Law in Herat University, said sexual assault on children and adults was forbidden in Islam.

“Sexual assault on male children is called sodomy, jurists have different views about punishment for this issue, some say the assaulter should be thrown to the ground from a top and others say a wall should be collapsed on the assaulter, but most of the jurists say the assaulter should be executed,” he said.

Many national and international conventions pressurize governments to protect children’s rights, but sexual assault cases happen in many parts of Afghanistan including in Herat province.

According to the Article 34 of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, member countries are responsible to defend rights of children against any sexual exploitation.

Member states shall in particular take all appropriate national, bilateral and multilateral measures to prevent: inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; the exploitative use of children in prostitution or other unlawful sexual practices; the exploitative use of children in pornographic performances and materials.

Experts also term sexual assault on children a matter of concern and ask the government, justice organs in particular to take serious action against the assaulters.



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