Rape, abuse stalk mi­grant chil­dren in French slums: UN

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

LILLE (France)—Mi­grant chil­dren stuck in slums on France’s north­ern coast face a “per­ma­nent dan­ger” of sex­ual abuse or ex­ploita­tion, the UN Chil­dren’s Fund has warned, urg­ing the cre­ation of pro­tected ar­eas for mi­nors.

“They fear go­ing out at night, af­ter dark, for fear of rape,” UNICEF said in a hard­hit­ting re­port on un­ac­com­pa­nied chil­dren ti­tled “Nei­ther Safe nor Sound”.

The chil­dren’s “liv­ing con­di­tions..., the vi­o­lence ex­pe­ri­enced on the road, the risks of bor­der cross­ings, the mone­tary re­la­tion­ships in shan­ty­towns, and forms of the re­sult­ing en­slave­ment, con­sti­tute a per­ma­nent dan­ger” at all seven sites cov­ered in a re­cent study, UNICEF said.

The study, re­leased on Thurs­day, was car­ried out be­tween Jan­uary and April at sites stretch­ing from the Calais area to Nor­mandy where around 500 chil­dren live with­out their par­ents.

The 90-page re­port drew par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the risk of rape fac­ing young Afghan boys be­cause of the prac­tice known as batcha bazi that al­lows them to be treated as “sex­ual ob­jects” by men.

“Batcha bazi is viewed by Afghans as a le­git­i­mate prac­tice,” the re­port said. “Ac­cord­ing to the mi­grants we in­ter­viewed, th­ese prac­tices re­sult in the rape of young boys be­ing seen as more so­cially ac­cept­able than that of girls.”

Fe­male mi­nors risk sex­ual abuse or be­ing lured into pros­ti­tu­tion to raise money to en­ter some of the camps or to cross the Chan­nel, which costs be­tween 5,000 and 7,000 eu­ros ($5,600 and $8,000), the re­port said. —AFP

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