At least 95 percent of truck drivers in Pakistan consider indulging in sexual activities during their rest time as their main entertainment.
According to The News, transportation terminals and bus stands are the main hubs for such activity, as truck drivers are away from home for an average of 21.5 days in a month,
Sahil, an NGO working for child rights, shared these deplorable findings at the launch of a report titled 'A Situational Analysis of Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Transport Industry of Pakistan'.
The survey was conducted with 505 persons, including 170 drivers, 169 helper boys and 166 driver hotel owners.
To determine the status of the issue and unveil the reality, the working group conducted a research in six major cities, including Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Sukkur, Karachi and Quetta, where transportation hubs exist.
The purpose of this research was to identify the key factors, which affect the prostitution of boys in the transport industry, and study the socio-economic and legal context in which such persons manoeuvre.
At the end, the study recommends actions that can be taken to combat CSEC in the transport and allied sectors.
Highlighting the main findings of the research, chairman of the working group Dr Muhammad Tufail said though having such a relationship with women is also very much prevalent at such spots, drivers prefer young boys, as they are easily available and are cheaper as compared to women.
Citing some other reasons for this preference, he said there is also no issue of pregnancy or provision of safe space for such activities with boys.
The study shows that the spaces often used for sexual activities are hotels or inside a truck, bus and trawlers, and other venues like deserted places on roadsides, fields, etc.
The mean age of the helper boys with the drivers was 16 years, ranging between 13 to 22 years. Out of a total of 170 helper boys, the vast majority were Pashtu speaking (44.6 per cent), followed by Punjabi (22 per cent), Seraiki (10.1 per cent) and Sindhi (8.9 per cent).
The mean schooling of the helpers was three years, while only six per cent had completed the 10-year schooling. The main reasons quoted were poverty (43 per cent), harsh school environment (20 per cent), physical abuse at home (10 per cent) and the desire to learn a marketable skill (22 per cent).
In its recommendations, the study urged the government to officially acknowledge the sexual exploitation of boys, so that policies, reforms and legal provisions could be formulated to rotect boys from this menace.