According to the report published by the Nation, the gang of up to 25 young men regularly abused children from villages Hussain Khanwala, Bagga, and Rohi Nala for years. The two leaders of the ring — both in their forties — are allegedly being protected by influential people in the area that tried to cover up the whole scandal, the MPA and the DPO Kasur in particular.
About 400 videos were confiscated, mainly filmed in village fields or abandoned houses, all featuring sexual acts with more than 280 children, most of them under 14 years of age. For many of these children the nightmare started at the ages of 8 — 9, for some even at 6.
"I was just nine years old when I was abducted and taken to a deserted house. I was brutally tortured when I offered resistance. Then they administered a spinal injection. I was raped multiple times by several men at gunpoint," Said one of the boys, assaulted in 2006.
Primary customers of the gang leaders were foreigners. Pedophiles from abroad would give large amounts of money for sexual assault footage and sometimes pay extra to watch the abuse live. Also, thousands of copies have reportedly been sold for 50 Rupees each in Hussain Khanwala village in Kasur district.
The gang would also cash in by blackmailing victims and their families. Ashamed and afraid of being publicly humiliated, the villagers sold their belongings to pay hundreds of thousands of Rupees just to get their videos erased, and sometimes the molesters took the money but continued distributing the videos. The gang has earned 80 million Rs through extortion money from the victims' families alone.
"Everyone in this village is a victim. Our children both boys and girls are raped and blackmailed," said one of the victim's mother.
Saba Sadiq, head of Punjab's Child Protection Bureau, reportedly busted the ring and called it ‘the largest-ever child abuse scandal in Pakistan's history.' The news was shocking to everyone in country, causing many to question how nobody ever took notice of such an unprecedented crime.
Two of the alleged leaders of the ring are government servants working for the High Court's office and were connected to influential people.
The scale of the scandal broke out earlier this week after the victims' parents went on a protest in a fierce attempt to let their voices be heard. Victim's families said they were pressured by a local political figure to withdraw the allegations. The campaign leader told The Nation he had been warned he would be killed if he did not withdraw his claims.
The Nation Editor-in-chief Rameeza Majid Nizami took to Twitter to expose the politician who protected the abusers.
So far only six alleged abusers have been arrested, five of whom have been remanded in custody.