Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Don't Touch My Child : Sexual Abuse in Morocco

Here is a short article about pedophilia in Morocco, and a group that is trying to address the issue. It seems as if the government is trying to downplay the connection between pedophilia and sex tourism but from my experience in Morocco, this is believed to be one of the main forces driving the rise in cases.

Moroccan group reports 'staggering' rise in child sex abuse

19 hours ago

RABAT (AFP) — A campaigning group reported a "staggering" rise in the number of sexual assaults on children in Morocco, in its annual report issued Tuesday.

The Touche pas a mon enfant (Don't touch my child) group said it had recorded 306 such cases in 2008, six times more than the number recorded by another rights group for the first half of 2007.

But it added: "The cases declared by the families of the victims... only make up a tiny percentage of the abuse committed."

That was partly explained by the taboo nature of the issue in Morocco's conservative society, it added.

"Sexual assaults are, in Morocco, as in a lot of other societies, surrounded by a veil of almost-total silence," it said.

Even the victims and their families often dared not speak out.

Family Affairs Minister Nouzha Skalli suggested that the rise in figures indicated not so much an increase in abuse but a greater willingness to speak out.

"Paedophilia has always existed in Morocco," she told AFP.

"The fact that it is being brought to light by the media and NGOs... in no way means a direct rise in the number of victims of pedophilia."

But Najat Anwar, the founder and president of "Don't touch my child" said the rise in the 2008 figures was down to an increase in sexual tourism, fueled by the development of the Internet.

The group also said that light sentences issued by the courts against offenders was doing nothing to discourage such crimes.

It called for a greater commitment by the authorities, including tougher laws targeting such practices.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved.

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