Report: Sexual abuse widespread among Nepal's street children
Kathmandu - Some 75 per cent of street boys in Kathmandu are victims of sexual abuse at the hands of foreigners, locals and their peers, according to a report released Thursday.
The problem is made worse by a gap in Nepalese legislation which does not recognize sexual abuse of boys, children's aid groups say.
The report by groups Save the Children and Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN) said 74.8 per cent of boys on the streets of Kathmandu between the ages of 10 and 18 were affected.
Some were engaged in prostitution, but others had been sexually assaulted by foreign nationals, police, third-genders, drug abusers, strangers, and 46 per cent reported abuse by other street boys.
The study authors, who interviewed 110 boys, found that '78 per cent of the perpetrators were Nepalese' CWIN programme officer Pooja Shrestha said. That figure included other homeless minors, she said.
'Some children gave sexual favours in exchange for food, while for some it meant a sense of belonging, as the older boys offer them protection within a group.'
The study shows that some children were paid as little as 200 rupees (2.6 dollars) for sex.
Most of the street children in Nepal are boys, according to CWIN. Nepal's law defines sexual abuse and rape only in relation to women and girls. There is no legal recourse against sexual abuse of boys.
Children from rural areas often run away from home to the city to escape poverty and domestic violence.
There are over 4,000 street children in Nepal according to 2008 statistics, 1,000 of them in the area around Kathmandu, population 3.5 million.
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