Pakistan's Hidden Shame (2014) Movie Script

It's one of the world's most
important Muslim nations,
a nuclear power, ally to the West
in the war against terror
and a democracy.
But Pakistan is also
a country in denial,
turning a blind eye to the sexual
exploitation of many
thousands of poor
and vulnerable children.
It's one of the most sad
and shameful aspects of our society.
I have to say, I'm totally
embarrassed by this,
that we have not really been
able to protect them.
It's going on everywhere. In the
big cities, or small cities, towns.
Everywhere this is happening.
It's estimated that over four
million children across Pakistan
are forced to work from an early
age due to poverty.
Of these, up to one and a half
million live on the streets,
with no home to go to.
For the poorest kids in Peshawar,
often the only source of income
is picking garbage from gutters
Working up to 14 hours
a day for a pittance.
Aqib is nine years old.
Playing in a dirty, polluted canal
might seem danger enough,
but for boys like Aqib
and his friends,
there are other hazards
they must face every day.
The man speaking with the boys is
social worker Afzal Shah,
one of the very few people trying to
protect the street children
of Peshawar.
The centre gives a small
number of boys the chance to rest
But there are 5,000 street
children in Peshawar alone,
most with nowhere to go.
13-year-old Naeem is grateful
for even the little protection
the shelter provides.
But Afzal's day care centre
is just that -
funded by charitable
donations, there's little money
and most kids have to leave and fend
for themselves at night.
With nowhere to sleep,
many hang around the city's main bus
where beds are laid out in
the open each evening
for drivers to catch some
sleep between journeys.
This makeshift hostel is
run by Hassan Deen.
But as we later discover,
there's more to Hassan Deen than
he cares to admit.
Naeem, whom we met at Afzal's
comes here
when there's nowhere else to go.
They're a colourful
sight on the roads of Pakistan,
brightly decorated by their owners,
depicting historical heroes.
Trucks and buses are the lifeblood
of the Pakistan economy,
and Peshawar,
just 40 minutes' drive from
the Afghan border,
is a key transport hub for
Central and Southern Asia.
But behind the colour
lies another story.
In towns and cities across Pakistan,
much of the sexual abuse
of street boys takes place at bus
and truck terminals.
When darkness falls,
hostel owner Hassan Deen
provides an extra service.
He also admits to using
boys for himself.
At bus and truck terminals across
Pakistan, drivers and conductors
often keep boys on a permanent
basis, as helpers or apprentices.
There is a culture to have a small
child with you, go along with.
And it means that the child
is kept as a prostitute
or as a partner, sexual partner.
Human rights lawyer, Zia Awan,
has fought for the rights
Hundreds of children are being raped
every day. They are being sold.
They are being trafficked. They
It's going on everywhere.
And people don't believe
when we say something,
they say that
civil society is exaggerating.
It's a taboo subject, but in recent
times, articles have finally begun
to appear in Pakistani newspapers
highlighting cases of child abuse.
But Zia Awan claims the problem
is hugely underestimated.
We are, every day, listening
to children who are being abused,
who are on the street or in
the school or wherever they are.
Or the home settings.
In one survey, carried out by a
children's charity, 95% of truck
drivers admitted having sex with
boys was their main entertainment.
And some local surveys
have estimated
that nine out of every ten
street kids have been abused.
If accurate, that puts
the figure, on a national scale,
in the hundreds of thousands.
the daily struggle
is just to survive.
His parents died when he was eight
and he's run away
several times since.
Naeem was given drugs by older men
on his first nights on the streets.
He's now an addict.
Pakistan has over
a million heroin users
and almost 30% of those who inject
the drug are HIV positive.
Being so close to
drugs are plentiful in Peshawar.
At night, dealers hang around
the main bus terminal.
Aware of the dangers on the streets,
social worker Afzal has been
After the meeting,
he asks to be dropped
at a local cinema to watch a movie.
There are two cinemas
on this street.
Already, he's breaking
the promise he made to Afzal.
Naeem had discovered a way
to pay for his growing drug
addiction at an early age.
To show how open
street prostitution is,
Naeem invites us
to a busy intersection.
Over the next 20 minutes, other men
try to solicit sex from Naeem.
In order to survive,
prostitution has become commonplace
for many street children.
One of Naeem's friends,
12-year-old Saeed,
is described
as promiscuous by the other boys.
has counselled street children
for the last seven years.
Many adults appear to blame
the children themselves.
In one study,
1,800 men were interviewed
about their feelings
towards child sexual abuse.
One third of them said they did not
consider it to be bad,
let alone a crime or a sin.
Ghulam Qadri, deputy country
director for the charity
Save The Children, says much
of the problem stems from the past
history of the abusers themselves.
The people who indulge
in those activities, in many cases,
Many times, they were abused
as a child, as well.
So, this becomes a routine practice
in their life.
So, they don't consider this
as a crime.
Yet some of the abusers
go to desperate lengths to ensure
no-one finds out.
We conducted a study
and the horrifying figures were that
out of every ten children who were
sexually abused, one was killed.
The people who commit this crime,
to protect their identity,
Many psychologists argue that
the attraction to young boys
stems from the rigid
segregation of the sexes
in significant parts
of Pakistani society,
where women are perceived
as the inferior gender,
rarely seen in public
and with very few rights.
A 2014 World Health Organisation
report places such gender inequality
at the very top of
causes for child abuse
and a recent World Economic Forum
report named Pakistan
second worst country in the world
when it comes to equal
opportunities for women.
Ejaz, the bus conductor,
has strong views on what he believes
a woman's role should be.
to Peshawar's main bus terminal,
where much of the abuse takes place.
runs through Pakistani society
and that this has led
A 2010 UNICEF report
suggests that traditional Pakistani
cultural values of purity
and protection of women have
contributed to men preying on boys.
And Ejaz, in his own way,
appears to echo that report.
Laws do exist to protect children,
but those trying to help say
the authorities ignore them.
to implement those laws
to protect our children.
The governor of this
region is Imran Khan,
a world-famous sportsman,
now turned politician.
He was shocked by the evidence
we presented to him,
including that some surveys show
as many as 90% of street children
may have been sexually abused.
I didn't realise it happened
to the extent you're saying.
It's one of the most sad and
shameful aspects of our society,
I have to say.
I'm totally embarrassed
by this figure.
And, well, my party has
only been in government
for the last seven and
a half months, seven months,
and so I've seen the poverty
growing in Pakistan
and obviously the children are
the weakest members of society
and get hurt the most.
But those directly involved
say one of the biggest problems
is that police on the ground
Law enforcers are hardly
listening to all these cries
which the street child is making.
So it's a very grim situation,
not a very good situation
Often caught up dealing
with Taliban attacks,
the local police here in Peshawar
admit child protection
In the last 5 years,
700 policemen have been
killed in terrorist attacks.
The amount of terrorism in this
country has grown to the point
that the security agencies which
So it's very difficult for them
to then go and protect children,
street children.
Afzal is becoming increasingly
concerned about Naeem.
He's discovered that the boy
has been harming himself.
It becomes clear he's been
doing it for some time.
It's obvious something
is troubling him,
but Afzal is worried about
Naeem's state of mind.
Fearing the worst,
he confides in us.
We ask Naeem.
The abused has become the abuser.
Afzal fears that Naeem is
now reaching crisis point.
That he's beginning to show
suicidal tendencies.
Afzal believes the Naeem is
too psychologically damaged
by his life in Peshawar and
needs specialist, long-term care.
no proper government-run facility
and charities are struggling to
survive because of lack of funds.
He speaks with Naeem, who doesn't
want to leave his friends,
but realises this may be
the only chance he has.
But Karachi is over a thousand
kilometres away and to move him,
Afzal needs the agreement of Naeem's
older brother, Hazratullah,
the same man he ran away from almost
a year ago because of beatings.
Four days have passed
since Afzal first raised
the possibility of Naeem
moving to Karachi.
Thinking he'd been forgotten,
the boy had begun to despair
and returned to drugs.
Naeem isn't aware that the
day of decision has arrived.
His brother and another relative
show up in Afzal's office
to meet with the boy, face to face.
The social worker who will
accompany Naeem to Karachi,
if everything's agreed,
has come as a witness.
For Naeem, at last, there's hope.
He's on his way to the drug
rehabilitation centre in Karachi,
and now has a future to
look forward to.
Naeem must spend the first week at
his new home locked behind bars
He's allowed out for a medical
check-up, including an HIV test.
A drug-free week has passed.
Naeem has been released
from the withdrawal room, but he's
confined to his new quarters and now
says he regrets leaving Peshawar.
But there's something else
troubling him.
Today, he gets
the results of his HIV test.
Naeem is just one example.
Hundreds of thousands of others
are at great risk every day
on the streets of Pakistan.
Many of those working
on behalf of the children
have accused Pakistani politicians
of turning a blind eye
to the plight of those abused.
But perhaps, at last, a champion
may be emerging on their behalf.
It's really shameful for us
that we have not really been able
to protect them.
So we will have a task force
specifically to get
rid of this crime.
I'm going to have a
meeting in a week's time
and I will bring this on.
And it will help
if your film comes out
because we will use that film
and then we'll take action.
That action cannot come soon enough.
Back in Peshawar, Afzal has
received a call.
Another little boy has turned up
on the streets near the bus station.
Thank you. Thank you so much,
thank you.