Thursday, June 12, 2008
Iraqi children: sexual abuse, addiction and imprisonment
Independent and government reports have confirmed an increase in the number of orphaned and sexually abused children, as well as a rise in the number dropping out of school. And as the security situation has worsened of late, nongovernmental organizations warn against the impact of deteriorating security conditions on Iraqi children.
Officials from Childhood Voices Association, a children’s non-governmental organization, say that "there are 11,000 children addicted to drugs in Baghdad alone, that many girls aged 12 to 16 years old have been victims of rape, and that many girls aged 12 years and above have endured sexual harassment." The organization also quotes international reports stressing that "more than 1 million Iraqi children have entered the labour market with the increase in the rate of poverty (one third of Iraq’s population live under the poverty line) and that they suffer violence and sexual abuse." According to their report, 1.3 million children aged 8 to 16 years old, equal to 6.1% of the population, have become workers.