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Current Page: World | Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Pakistan's Largest Child Porn Ring Uncovered After One Family Speaks Out; Over 280 Child Victims Found on 400 Videos

Pakistan's Largest Child Porn Ring Uncovered After One Family Speaks Out; Over 280 Child Victims Found on 400 Videos

Children whose families say they have been abused, hide their faces while their mothers are interviewed by a Reuters correspondent in their village of Husain Khan Wala, Punjab province, Pakistan, August 9, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Mohsin Raza)

A criminal gang in Pakistan located near the Indian border has forced nearly 300 children to engage in sexual acts in what authorities have discovered is the largest child pornography ring in the nation's history. Islamic scholars are now calling for the perpetrators to be put to death.

The chief minister of Pakistan's Punjab province, Shahbaz Sharif, requested on Sunday that the Lahore High Court investigate a gang of child pornographers in Kasur, which supposedly produced at least 400 videos featuring 280 children who were forced into sex, Pakistan's Dawn newspaper first reported.

A top child protection official in the province has labeled the case "the largest-ever child-abuse scandal in Pakistan's history" and assured that those responsible will be punished vigorously.

The hours of footage show various heinous sexual acts that the children, some of whom are as young as 7, were forced to commit. Many of the children were forced to molest other children.

"Those involved in the case will be severely punished. They will not be able to escape their fate." Sharif asserted. "The affected families will be provided with justice at any cost."

As up to 14 suspects from the village of Hussain Khan Wala have thus far been arrested, The Associated Press reports that the criminals were able keep the victimized children and families quiet for years through blackmail.

It is believed that the gang used the videos as a way to extort money from family members by threatening to publicly release the videos and bring shame on the family if the gang did not get its pay.

The report adds that gang members often threatened the children at gunpoint or drugged them in order to get them to participate in the sexual acts.

"They destroyed me," one unnamed victim told AP. "They destroyed my family. They just killed me."

The gang was successful in quieting its victims until one family had enough and decided to speak out against the criminal outfit, which then caused other families to speak out as well.

Latif Sarra, an attorney representing some of the victims, added that if a family could not pay to prevent the gang from releasing the footage of their child, the gang required that the family find another child for the gang to victimize.

"It was a gang that has 15 to 21 members. These people have been ... raping boys and girls under the age of 15 and then filming them since 2009," Sarra explained. "It is a case of extortion. It is their business."

Despite the chief minister's request for an investigation, the chief justice of the Lahore High Court rejected the application for an investigation on Monday and claimed that since there was already a local police investigation into the matter, a judicial investigation was not necessary.

Although the police have been investigating the case since June, it wasn't until hundreds of people gathered outside the police station in August to protest the authority's inaction that the police actually began arresting suspects. At least 25 people were injured in the protest.

Sarra believes the police are not taking the case seriously and are even conspiring with the suspects.

"The police are conniving with the accused," Sarra contended.

A few parents of the victimized children told Reuters that when they went to file a police report against the criminals, the officers treated their children as if they were the criminals.

"I went to the police station to file a complaint, but instead of registering a [case], they took my son into custody," mother Shakila Bibi explained.

According to AP, Pakistan's parliament has spoken out against the sexual crimes and urged that all those involved be held accountable. Meanwhile, a group of 50 Islamic scholars issued a decree urging the courts to give all criminals involved in the case the death penalty.

"The courts should announce death sentence for the criminals involved in this heinous crime," the scholars' decree states. "Islam declares it the worst sin against humanity."

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