October 28th, 2005 | researchmaterial
Six-year-old Aisha loves the orange blouse and jeans given to her by the kind woman who rescued her from the chaos of the Kashmir earthquake. She snuggles up to the woman, trying to forget the devastation of her village home and the deaths of her parents 16 days ago. What Aisha does not know is that the woman, Kausar, is a prostitute who has bought her from relatives for 50,000 rupees and plans to put her to work in the sex trade as soon as she reaches puberty.
Aisha is not alone. According to welfare agencies, many of the hundreds of girls and boys orphaned by the October 8 earthquake are being targeted by gangs intent on turning them into prostitutes or street beggars. Other children are being sold for adoption by their parents in acts prompted by the destruction of homes and livelihoods.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s Government is so alarmed by the threat to vulnerable children that it has placed armed guards at all hospitals and ordered that no child is released to anyone until proof of kinship has been verified…