Pakistan to launch mobile phone app to curb child sex abuse

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered authorities to prepare a mobile phone app to help parents report child sex abuse after a series of crimes shocked the nation.

Khan announced the initiative after police arrested a man for the alleged sexual abuse and murder of four young boys in Punjab province’s Kasur district.

The abduction, rape and murder of the four boys in September took place in the same district where a seven-year-old girl named Zainab was raped and murdered in 2018.

The “Mera Bacha Alert” (My Child Alert) app will allow parents the option of avoiding a decades-old in-person police reporting system.

Many parents, especially in rural areas and smaller communities, avoid reporting incidents like rape due to shame, fears of stigmatisation and pressure to avoid lodging such allegations.

The new method should help ease the barriers to reporting crimes of abuse, Khan’s office said.

The app will alert officials in all four provinces of the country about the incident.

“The app will help parents report and we will ensure safety and security of our children,” the prime minister said in a statement issued by his office.

“The PM has ordered to complete the task within two weeks,” a spokesperson at Khan’s office said on Wednesday.

In 2018, at least 3,832 cases of abduction, sodomy and rape were reported in which 55 per cent victims were girls, according to Sahil, a not-for-profit organisation that records reported cases related to children.

It welcomed the launch of the app.

In 2015, the city of Kasur made global headlines when hundreds of videos of child molestation surfaced and police later arrested several members of a racket involved in selling child pornography to websites in Europe.

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