Sri Lanka Struggles to Contain a Growing Epidemic of Child Abuse

World

War-scarred Sri Lanka is experiencing an alarming scourge of child abuse, and the apparatus for dealing with the problem, UNICEF says, is “grossly inadequate.”

Every day, three to five children are raped in the island nation. Police statistics show the total number of child rapes in 2011 as 1,463; the figure jumped to 1,759 cases in 2012, according to a parliamentary report. Police records also give a total of just over 2,000 sexual offenses against children, besides rape, in 2011; child-molestation cases in 2012 soared to over 5,000, according to parliamentary figures. The total number of all crimes against children — which besides sex crimes include crimes of violence, abduction, trafficking and other offenses — increased by a dramatic 64% between 2011 and 2012.

(MORE:Amid Abuse and Fear, Tamils Continue to Flee Sri Lanka)

Some of the increases can be explained by growing awareness of child rights leading to increased…

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