Protection of Children from commercial sexual exploitation

SEHER’s assessment revealed the prevalence of vulnerability of boys towards sexual abuse and exploitation in Quetta. It was also highlighted that most incidences of child abuse take place in the vicinity of cinemas, video gaming zones and small hotels. The boys who are forced to work by their parents usually become any easy target for the perpetrators to lure them into commercial sexual activities.

SEHER strategically dealt with the situation multi-dimensionally. On one hand SEHER started rehabilitation of victimized children through variety of recreational activities, life skills based education, skill development, medical support, and psychosocial counseling and on the other hand started sensitization of key stakeholders that include people belonging to different tiers of the society that directly or indirectly have a link with the life of the children vulnerable to sexual abuse. The focused stakeholders include parents, primary care givers, community elders, law enforcing agencies.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

1) Protection ad rehabilitation of CSEC through provision of education/literacy, counseling, recreational and psychosocial support, skill development, while Life Skill Based Education, CRC ,Health & Hygiene and physical health facility,
2) Creating an enabling environment for children at high risk of abuse and sexual exploitation in the outskirts of Quetta through activities involving rehabilited children.
3) Sensitization of stakeholders to play their role to the maximum to reduce the impacts of the commercial sex trade and link them with the available services.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

The children have been relieved of their mental trauma through psychosocial counselling and a variety of recreational activities. It has been endeavoured to inculcate positive values into their minds.

In order to reduce the level of their economic dependency they have been trained in vocational skills that have high market demands and facilitated to be certified by the recognized board. Children/youth have started earning a reasonable amount from the acquired skills of tailoring and repairing of electronic accessories.

On the other hand extensive measures have been taken to prevent children from abuse. The Parents Community Committees and child associations are fully functional in playing their important roles. Regular coordination meetings have been held with various stakeholders in order to holistically strike to the core issues.The capacity of the rehabilitated children/youth was developed in a manner to pay back to their community and enable them to address the problem.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

An innovation of the campaign was community involvement and the engagement of the children who were rehabilitated from the activities, they play their role as change makers, the children who were in CSEC and living a miserable life were rehabilited and were able to serve as educators for the children. A child N was being sexually exploited when he was 14 years old, he was registered and services were given to him, he started school and enrolled in a mobile repairing course at the center by SEHER. He completed his course and was able to apply for a skill trainer's job when he was 18 years old. He qualified for the position and start serving and the other group of youth who were rehabilitated were linked to the youth training program.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

-190 children were provided with protective services
- 42 children were placed in jobs
-79 children got their TTB certification
- 15 children were mainstreamed in formal schooling
-12 Parents community committees were made aware of child rights and protection
-4 CFS provide self-protection education and education to vulnerable children
-12 Child associations working for protection of children
- 18 rehabilitated children got training as active citizens and implemented their social action project.

CHALLENGES FACED

SEHER initially faced tremendous critical pressure for having touched so sensitive an issue, as most of the people were reluctant to discuss this issues, which was considered taboo. The gravity of the situation charted another difficulty. However, the equally important path was of breaking the culture of silence, which in a sense had provided a safe shelter to perpetrators.

SEHER's consistent endeavours have continued for several consecutive years and as a result succeeded in highlighting the issue in different provincial and national forums, in which the issue was comprehensively discussed.
The darkest side of the picture is the silence of the society, which gives the perpetrators more room to conduct heir inhuman activities fearlessly. There are 17 operative spots where children are used as sexual commodities. A rough estimate indicates that a sizeable number of 4000 children between 7 and 20 years are involved in the sex trade. One of the well-known spots is Baldia plaza.

LESSONS LEARNT

1) The prevention of abuse and violence against children is possible through teaching children on child rights awareness and self protection, and life skills in a child-friendly environment. Community involvement can play a vital role in this, community can volunteer their services if mobilized.
2) Accurate and reliable data was not available, SEHER team knows that 28 spot are there in Quetta city, where children are being sexually exploited or available for exploitation but a scientific data was not available.
3) Skill development, vocational training, self employment and job placement are effective tools for the rehabilitation of CESC.
4) Very few families of the children file their abuse cases in courts, they fear the lengthy and tiring procedure and stigma.
5) Peer education has been proved an effective tool for the rehabilitation, the rehabilitated children can play role for the motivation.
6) The sensitized and aware community members, parents could play a vital role

COUNTRY

Pakistan

CITY

Islamabad

WEBSITE

http://www.seher.org.pk/

FACEBOOK PAGE

https://www.facebook.com/seher8141937