In towns and cities across Pakistan, tens of thousands of vulnerable young boys have become the victims of paedophile predators who seem to have nothing to fear from the law. It’s an open secret that few acknowledge publicly and even fewer want to do anything about.
In a society where women are hidden from view and young girls deemed untouchable, the bus stations, truck stops and alleyways have become the hunting ground for perverted men to prey on the innocent. In one survey alone, 95% of truck drivers admitted having sex with boys was their favourite entertainment. At the main bus terminal in Peshawar, a makeshift hostel for drivers passing through is set up every evening with around twenty beds lying side by side. Some are occupied by men, some by boys, and some by both. Most boys have been procured by hostel owners like Hassan Deen: “When a kid is wandering the streets alone, we lure him in by telling him we’ll give him some food and a place to stay. Then we pass them on to the drivers.” In return for a pittance, the men can have sex with as many boys as they desire.
Pedestrians stroll by as though nothing is amiss and police say they’re too busy fighting terrorists to have time for the children. Forever damaged and with no hope, many of the boys turn to drugs to numb the pain and sorrow.
One of the boys we feature is 13-year-old Naeem. Having been gang-raped by four men when he was just 10, Naeem is now a child prostitute and abuser of younger boys himself. As he says: “Sometimes I wish I’d never been born.”
“It’s one of the most sad and shameful aspects of our society. I have to say I’m totally embarrassed by this” Imran Khan, world-famous cricketer and leading Pakistani Politician.