Women's Commission chief hits out at paedophiles

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 21 February 1997 23:41 IST

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has demanded a stringent legislation against the paedophiles to safeguard the abandoned children from increasing number of cases of sexual abuse.

Mohini Giri, the NCW chairperson, blasted the Goa government during her visit here for denying that child prostitution is on the rise in the tourist state. ''I personally visited the beaches here to confirm that children are being abused by the foreign tourists'', she said.

Goa has been in controversy over paedophilic activities since Freddy Peats, who was operating as an agent for foreign paedophiles and supplying them abandoned children for their sexual enjoyment, was sentenced for life imprisonment last year.

Though several other similar cases were brought to light by the NGOs working for the welfare of children, the local Congress government has been consistently denying the fact. The NCW is now planning to conduct a detailed survey in this regard, with the help of the NGOs.

After visiting the beaches like Baga, Anjuna and Vagator and meeting few children in the age group of 5 to 10 years selling trinkets, Giri says most of them had admitted to her that some foreign tourists offer them attractive gifts. The motive is to exploit them sexually, she adds.

While urging for a stringent act to clamp down upon the paedophiles, she also suggests that the punishment for child abuse should not be less than a death sentence. It should not only include rape, but even molestation and other ways of sexual abuse.

In case of trials, she suggests that a child of less than 16 years should not be produced in the court while child's version should be considered the truth by the court. She also objects to the medical examination of a child to get the abuse verified.

Informing the media further that minimum 2500 children in every district of the country are being abused sexually today, Giri feels that a legislation making education compulsory for all upto the age of 14 years is also a necessity while dealing against the paedophiles with a strong hand.

The NCW is also planning to hold parivarik mandal lok adalats (community peoples court) in Goa, on the lines of 80 such courts held in the rest of the country, to deal with civil and matrimonial cases of women's exploitation and harassment.

Giri also reiterated that the Indian women won't sit quite unless 33 per cent quota for political empowerment to women is granted by the central government. All the women's bodies have organised a nation-wide demonstration on March 1 to press for the demand, she adds.

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