August 25, 2023
By Maryam Missal
Sahil’s ‘Cruel Numbers’ report based on the first six months of 2023 has once again revealed that at least 12 children in Pakistan were sexually abused each day. In total, 2,227 reported cases of child sexual abuse (CSA) occurred.
Sahil is an organization that has been working since 1996 on child protection, especially against child sexual abuse (CSA). Annually, Sahil compiles child sexual abuse statistics through its Cruel Numbers Report, sourced primarily from newspapers and direct reporting.
Data was gathered from 86 national and regional newspapers, tracking incidents of CSA, abduction, missing children, and early and forced marriages.
Compared to last year’s ‘Cruel Numbers’ report, the first half of 2023 has seen a rise in the cases of CSA in boys. There were 16 more cases this year involving the sexual abuse of boys.
In 2022, there were a total of 2,211 reported cases of CSA, with 1,004 cases involving boys and 1,207 involving girls. In the current year, there have been 1,020 cases of abuse against boys and 1,207 against girls so far.
The data compiled by Sahil indicates that 593 boys and 457 girls, falling between the ages of 6 to 15, experienced sexual abuse. Minors within this age bracket have been shown to be the most vulnerable, accounting for 47% of all abuse victims.
Among the reported cases, 54% of victims were girls, and 46% were boys. Abduction cases ranked highest at 44%, followed by 13% for sodomy, 10% for rape, and 9% involving missing children. Notably, abductions witnessed an 8% increase compared to the same period in the previous year.
Tragically, a total of 760 children lost their lives due to violence, including 268 cases of drowning, 148 murders, 144 accidents, and 61 suicides.
Sahil highlighted the disturbing trend of abusers filming their heinous acts, often using these recordings to blackmail and threaten victims into silence.
The epicenter of these crimes has been the region of Punjab as 74% of the cases originated in the most populated, yet relatively progressed, province of Pakistan.
The remaining cases were reported from other provinces, including 7% from Islamabad, 14% from Sindh, 3% from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and 2% from Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The 2023 “Cruel Numbers” report reveals even more unsettling findings. The majority of crimes against children involve abusers who are either related to them or known within their family circles.
Out of the total number of abusers in these cases, 912 were acquaintances, and 498 were strangers. Additionally, 215 cases involved both acquaintances and strangers as perpetrators of crimes against children.
31% of the crimes were committed in public spaces like streets, and 2% of the cases were reported in places of worship.