Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) in its Human Rights Report 2021 has revealed to have taken note of girls with special needs being exploited for prostitution.
In their report, HRCM stressed that there were many obstacles to identifying cases of violence against people with special needs such as the reluctance to report such cases, lower rates of cases being reported and the failure of parents to recognize violence against their children.
“Children with special needs being unable to articulate when they are subjected to violence and difficulties amongst parents to recognize violence against their children. Most cases of violence are identified by a teacher or a doctor,” the report had read.
The report also states that law enforcement authorities lack a proper system to submit cases of violence against individuals with special needs. It further details that the information gathered by HRCM highlights that difficulties are faced in the investigation stage of a case as there is no pathway to take statements via the Police.
In addition to this, the report also stresses that there is a higher chance of women and girls with special needs being subjected to violence than others.
“Whilst it has been uncovered that women and girls with special needs are being sterilized by their families, information has also been received of women and girls with special needs being exploited for prostitution,” the report had read.
HRCM said that while some of these children have been exposed to different kinds of sexual businesses – they do not have the capacity to consent to the acts as they have no conception of the concept of consent.
In 2021, five cases of violence against individuals with special needs were filed at HRCM.