Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pakistan: "drivers prefer young boys, as they are easily available and are cheaper as compared to women"

95% truckers ‘indulge in sex with helpers’
Friday, February 19, 2010
Myra Imran
The News


Transportation terminals and bus stands are the hubs of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), with 95 per cent of truck drivers, who have to be away from home for an average of 21.5 days in a month, considering indulging in sexual activities during rest time as their main entertainment.
These deplorable findings were shared at the launch of a report titled ‘A Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Transport Industry of Pakistan’, organised by Sahil, an NGO working for child rights. The survey was conducted with 505 persons including 170 drivers, 169 helper boys and 166 driver hotel owners.

To determine the status of the issue and unveil the reality, the working group conducted a research in six major cities including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Sukkur, Karachi and Quetta, where transportation hubs exist.
Highlighting the main findings of the research, chairman of the working group Dr Muhammad Tufail said though having such a relationship with women is also very much prevalent at such spots, drivers prefer young boys, as they are easily available and are cheaper as compared to women. Citing some other reasons for this preference, he said there is also no issue of pregnancy or provision of safe space for such activities with boys.
Apart from the relatives of drivers, Dr Tufial said almost all helper boys accompanying the drivers are sexually exploited. Disclosing another shameful trend at these terminals, he said the older helper boys also tend to exploit young boys that are new in the profession. He said these boys are at a high risk of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV, as according to the research findings, drivers ignore using preventive measures while dealing with boys.
The helper boys are mostly adolescents in their late teens and their majority is either illiterate or had dropped out of school at an early age. He said the sexual exploitation of children in the transport sector exposes them to multiple forms of violence at different levels.  
The mean schooling of the helpers was three years, while only six per cent had completed the 10-year schooling. The main reasons quoted were poverty (43 per cent), harsh school environment (20 per cent), physical abuse at home (10 per cent) and the desire to learn a marketable skill (22 per cent).